Mary Maersk provided the backdrop for the Royal Danish Navy in an anti-piracy training mission last Sunday.
Sailing through the Fehmarn Belt dividing Denmark and Germany, 30 soldiers were suddenly lowered from helicopters to board the Mary Maersk. The mission of the members of the Frogman Corps, an elite commando unit of the Royal Danish Navy, was to defeat the pirates who had taken control of the large container vessel.
It was all an exercise, of course, and piracy in the Baltic Sea has been non-existent for centuries. For the Royal Danish Navy, however, the rescue operation was designed to be as realistic as possible in preparing them for anti-piracy missions in the Gulf of Aden, where Danish troops are regularly posted as part of an international force.
The operation included a wide number of actors in a role-playing setting, including paramedics, military police and the pirates themselves. The frigate Niels Juel was close at hand throughout. After having successfully freed the crew, the elite unit proceeded to search the ship for any remaining threats.
Night Hawk is a multinational exercise for elite units, held every other year in Denmark since 2000. More than 1,300 soldiers from seven different countries take part in the exercise with support from helicopters, aircraft and ships.
Press Release, October 10, 2014; Image: Maersk