Minehunting in the Red Sea and the Gulf of Suez: the Dutch contribution

For the Royal Navy, the task provided an excellent opportunity to test the new, polyester-based minehunters of the Alkmaar-class.

2 newly commissioned Alkmaar-class hunters were to be used for the job in the Red Sea: HNLMS Haarlem and HNLMS Harlingen, under the command of Lieutenant Commanders L.M. Deij and J.O. Geertsma respectively.

Minehunting operations

They set sail for Jedda on 28 August 1984 and arrived there on 16 September. From the Saudi naval base, King Faisal, the Dutch ships conducted their minehunting operations in the waters off the ports of Yanbu ‘al Bahr, Gizan, Al Wajh and Jedda. The minehunters were supported by an F-27 maritime patrol aircraft from the RNLAF’s 336 Squadron.

The task unit later performed the same tasks for Egypt from 24 October to 19 November, this time in the Gulf of Suez. No mines were found in either of the mission areas.

Cessation of search operation

The search operation was called off in December and the ships headed for home. After re-supplying in Gibraltar, the ships arrived at their moorings in the Nieuwe Diep in Den Helder on 6 December 1984.