The Dutch contribution to NATO’s counterpiracy operation Ocean Shield is to be expanded. A second helicopter and an unmanned aerial vehicle for reconnaissance will give an impulse to intelligence-gathering in particular.
A submarine will once again also be deployed for this task. Although the House of Representatives had previously declared the expansion of EU operation Atalanta a controversial topic, it nonetheless approved the expansion of Ocean Shield.
The units will leave for the Horn of Africa on board the landing platform dock HNLMS Rotterdam in the second half of this year. They will comprise two Cougars, which will serve as on-board helicopters and a special unit of marines to carry out boardings and rescue operations. The fight against piracy is proving successful. In the first five months of this year, there were 20 pirate attacks compared to 90 in the same period last year. The number of hijackings so far this year has been just 6, compared with 26 in the first five months of 2011.
Source: Defensie, June 20, 2012