Dutch Navy ship HNLMS Johan de Witt returned to Den Helder at the end of December after 4 months of anti-piracy mission Atalanta.
On 6 December, Commodore Peter Lenselink handed over the command of Task Force 465 to his successor, Contre Amiral Hervé Bléjean of the French Navy and headed home.
“You have played a crucial role in halting piracy and helping build stability and autonomy for Somalia and its neighbouring countries,” Chief of Defence General Tom Middendorp said while welcoming the ship’s crew.
HNLMS Johan de Witt left her home port of Den Helder in the Netherlands on 14 July 2013. On 6 August, the warship became the flagship of Operation Atalanta, with the Force Commander, Commodore Peter Lenselink, and his multinational staff embarked.
During the deployment Johan de Witt conducted patrols and provided protection to merchant shipping and ships sailing under the World Food Programme of the United Nations. Together with the Australian HMAS Melbourne it intercepted a group of pirates in October. HNLMS Johan De Witt also took part in Cutlass Express international maritime exercise off Djibouti.
Naval Today Staff, January 3, 2014; Image: Dutch MoD