Extra military personnel to Caribbean for disaster relief

The Netherlands is sending additional military personnel to the Caribbean to bolster disaster relief for the Bahamas. On Saturday afternoon, 76 marines departed from Eindhoven Air Base to Sint Maarten on board a Royal Netherlands Air Force KDC-10 transport aircraft.

Mariniers dragen hun bagage.
Marines arriving at Eindhoven Air Base.

The marines are part of 21 Raiding Squadron of the Marine Corps. They form the Marine Spearhead Task Unit that is on permanent stand-by for rapid deployment in the Netherlands or abroad. On Sint Maarten, the servicemen and women will board HNLMS Johan de Witt, which is currently making logistical preparations for disaster relief together with HNLMS Snellius.

Together with the French and the Germans

Including the extra marines, approximately 550 Dutch servicemen and women of the Netherlands navy, army, air force and marechaussee will be deployed for disaster relief in the Bahamas. In addition, there are 50 French and 50 German military personnel on board HNLMS Johan de Witt. They were already on board in connection with disaster relief exercise Caribbean Coast, which has now made way for actual disaster relief.

Mariniers lopen naar een vliegtuig van de Koninklijke Luchtmacht.
A KDC-10 transport aircraft taking the marines to the Caribbean.

Everything on board

HNLMS Johan de Witt is an amphibious transport ship. It is a port, airfield and depot rolled into one. It has a large deck for vehicles and relief supplies, army medical personnel, and an internal dock where boats can sail in and out. In addition, there are 2 Cougar transport helicopters on board from Defence Helicopter Command, a unit of marines with 2 FRISC boats and 4 landing craft, as well as soldiers from the Engineer Corps, an army unit specialised in civil-military operations, and 2 teams of specialist divers.

Clearing the ports

HNLMS Snellius is a hydrographic survey vessel equipped with advanced sonar equipment that can be used to chart underwater damage, shipwrecks and other obstructions. This capability can contribute to making ports on the Bahamas accessible again.