HNLMS Groningen left the port of Den Helder on April 28th bound for the Caribbean, where the patrol vessel will operate as guard ship. On the way there, the crew of HNLMS Groningen will carry out a strenuous exercise programme.
In Lisbon, HNLMS Groningen will train with other countries that take part in the Maritime Analysis and Operations Centre-Narcotics (MAOC-N). This alliance of 7 European countries (France, Ireland, Italy, the Netherlands, Portugal, Spain and the United Kingdom) combats drugs transports along the coasts of Europe and West Africa.
The Dutch Navy vessel will then set sail for Cape Verde, where the crew, also in a MAOC-N setting, will exercise the entering of suspect vessels. This exercise will also include the local coast guards. Cape Verde is in a strategic position on a well-known drugs smuggling route from South America to Africa, which runs along the tenth parallel and is therefore known as Highway 10.
HNLMS Groningen is one of four new flexibly deployable ocean-going patrol vessels of the Royal Netherlands Navy. The patrol vessel has an overall length of 108 metres and can be deployed anywhere in the world for a wide range of tasks. HNLMS Groningen is expected to arrive in the port of Curaçao on 19 May.
Press Release, May 1, 2014; Image: Defensie