Belgian Navy’s multi-purpose frigate BNS Louise Marie departed Belgian naval base Zeebrugge on Monday to start her deployment to the European operation Sophia in the Mediterranean Sea.
Over the course of the next 30 days, Louise Marie will be representing the Belgian contribution to the EU mission of fighting human and arms traffickers in the Mediterranean and preventing further loss of life at sea.
Louise Marie will be operating in international waters between Sicily and Lybia. The frigate and her crew of 150 are expected to return from operations on July 28.
With BNS Louise Marie underway, the Belgian Navy’s entire operational fleet is now underway on duties, the Belgian Navy noted.
BNS Louise Marie is former Dutch Navy Karel Doorman-class frigate bought by the Belgian Navy in 2005 from the Royal Netherlands Navy as replacement for Belgian Navy’s old Wielingen-class frigates. Louise Marie was formerly known as HNLMS Willem van der Zaan.
In 2009, the Netherlands and Belgium decided to modernize their M- frigates by rebuilding their hangar and helicopter decks to accommodate the NH 90 helicopters.