On Monday 19 May 2014, Dutch frigate HNLMS De Zeven Provenciën joined EU Naval Force (EU NAVFOR) Somalia Operation Atalanta.
As the ship sailed towards the Gulf of Aden the crew maintained a high level of operational readiness. They conducted a hostage release exercise with a Dutch merchant vessel and had to coordinate a search and rescue operation. Also en route to the Gulf of Aden the ship embarked a boarding team from the Republic of Malta.
On Wednesday 14 May the exercise with the Dutch merchant ship “Nordnes” provided the embarked Maltese boarding team and ship’s NH90 flight crew with an opportunity to conduct training in a very realistic environment.
On Thursday 15 May the Dutch frigate received a distress call from a merchant vessel that a crew member had gone overboard. The frigate, which was about 22 nautical miles away, coordinated the search and rescue operation with the NH 90 helicopter until the Maltese coastguard took over.
The Commanding Officer of HNLMS De Zeven Provinciën, Commander Ruud Schoonen stated: “We are really looking forward to joining the other units in EU Naval Force Operation Atalanta. Having successfully completed the final pre-deployment training by the Dutch Navy Sea Training staff, the ship is now fully prepared to conduct counter piracy operations off the coast of Somalia.”
De Zeven Provinciën-class frigates are air-defence and command frigates in service with the Royal Netherlands Navy since 2002. HNLMS De Zeven Provenciën was the first of the class and commissioned in April 2002. It is the 8th ship to bear the name De Zeven Provenciën which comes from the original seven provinces of the Netherlands following the Treaty of Utrecht.
Press Release, May 20, 2014; Image: EU Navfor