The Dutch naval frigate HNLMS Evertsen is leaving for Somali waters on Thursday to combat piracy as part of NATO mission Ocean Shield. The mission begins in June.
According to the Dutch Defence Ministry, the warship has 223 people on board, including sailors and helicopter pilots. A Lynx helicopter will join the mission to patrol the waters around the ship.
HNLMS Van Amstel is currently stationed off the Somali coast. The Dutch frigate is participating in the EU anti-piracy mission Atalanta. Later in the year, HNLMS Rotterdam will sail to Somali, accompanied by two Cougar helicopters and an unmanned drone, which can be used for scouting tasks.
At the beginning of April, the Dutch cabinet agreed to expand the EU anti-piracy mission, which includes air attacks on pirate camps on the coast. Troops are not, however, authorised to go on land to fight pirates.
The EU and NATO anti-piracy missions began in 2008. The Dutch navy is part of operations preventing pirates from hijacking ships and ransoming their crews or cargo. The Netherlands also deploys armed troops on merchant ships to protect them.
© Radio Netherlands Worldwide