The Commanding Officers of the Royal Navy’s Fleet Flagship, HMS Bulwark, and HNLMS Rotterdam found a lull in the action of Exercise Joint Warrior to establish an affiliation between the two amphibious ships and recognise the strong relationship between their respective navies and amphibious forces.
The amphibious affiliation between the Royal Navy and the Royal Netherlands Navy was endorsed in 2012 by the then First Sea Lord, Admiral Stanhope, and Admiral Boorsboom. Operating side by side during Exercise Joint Warrior, Europe’s largest military exercise this year, presented the perfect opportunity for the two assault ships to mark their own connection.
In a ceremony onboard HNLMS Rotterdam, Captain Andrew Burns RN and Captain Huub Hulsher RNLN exchanged mementos to mark the occasion, following a tour of the Dutch ship for the RN contingent.
Captain Burns presented a plaque of HMS Bulwark’s crest to Captain Hulsher carrying the motto:
“He who rules the sea will very shortly rule on the land also.”
The Exercise, run by Flag Officer Sea Training, provides combined training with forces of other nations and aims to improve interoperability, as well as developing and maintaining stable co-operative relationships around the world.
Working with international partners, such as the Netherlands, means that the Royal Navy makes a significant contribution to global maritime security and the military strength of NATO.
Speaking of the alliance, Captain Burns said:
“This partnership will improve interoperability, build trust and enhance our operational edge. Leading the UK’s very high readiness Response Force Task Group, HMS Bulwark is able to operate as a single entity, but it is important that we are equally effective as a combined fighting force working with allies such as the Netherlands.”
Next month HMS Bulwark will visit the port city of Rotterdam to celebrate the formation of the UK/Netherlands Amphibious Force which in its 40th Anniversary Year.
The main event will be a combined UK Netherlands demonstration of amphibious force, highlighting the high level of interoperability reaffirming the strong relationship the two nations enjoy.
Naval Today Staff, April 30, 2013; Image: Royal Navy