HNLMS Van Speijk, the Royal Netherlands Navy (RNLN) multipurpose frigate, arrived on the African east coast for her participation within the EU Naval Force.
However, before entering the area of operations further preparation was necessary: additional specific training for the mission and the integration of all attached units on board had to be executed.
Integration training with the boarding team began upon departure on August 10, as well as tabletop exercises for specific counter-piracy scenarios and situations.
The Mediterranean Sea acted as the operations area for the final ‘exam’. In this phase several complicated counter-piracy exercises were executed as well as three boardings on different ships.
Before entering the Suez channel Van Speijk met the HNLMS De Zeven Provinciën just leaving Operation Atalanta, for a hand-over operation at sea. During this operation all necessary materials and area specific knowledge was transferred from the crew of De Zeven Provinciën to their counterparts of the incoming crew.
After a successful handover, the remaining hurdle was the transit of the Suez Canal, after which Van Speijk began her EU Naval Force participation.
The Netherlands Defence organisation has contributed to the NATO and EU-led counterpiracy missions since 2009. The EU-led Operation Atalanta is aimed at combating piracy along the Somali coast.