A look at the Defence news 31 October – 6 November

This week, Minister Jeanine Hennis-Plasschaert paid a visit to the Royal Netherlands Navy vessel HNLMS Rotterdam to see for herself the first training courses being given to Libyan navy and coastguard personnel. A look at the Defence news in the week of 31 October to 6 November.

Minister Hennis-Plasschaert on board HNLMS Rotterdam talking to navy personnel.

Minister Hennis-Plasschaert on board HNLMS Rotterdam talking to navy personnel.

Hennis: “A good Libyan coastguard is crucial”

HNLMS Rotterdam is currently taking part in EU Operation Sophia in the Mediterranean Sea, where it is serving as a training platform for the Libyan navy and coastguard. “A well-functioning coastguard is crucial for monitoring and checking the migration flows from Libya to Europe,” said Hennis while on board the Royal Netherlands Navy ship. “It is therefore in our own best interests to ensure that the Libyan coastguard is capable of independently carrying out this task to good effect.” British, German and Greek instructors will teach about 80 Libyan personnel the basics of maritime practices in courses scheduled to last until mid-December. The courses began on 28 October.

Marines protect merchant shipping for 200th time

Last month, Dutch marines successfully protected a merchant vessel against piracy for the 200th time. The heavy load carrier ‘Red Zed II’ departed from Egypt and arrived safely in Sri Lanka. The so-called Vessel Protection Detachment (VPD) that protected the ‘Red Zed II’ comprised 10 marines and one general military nurse. Dutch shipping companies that have ships sailing through the areas blighted by piracy off the Somalian coast can apply for VPDs. They are often essential for a safe voyage. Last month, for example, 2 foreign merchant vessels were attacked, 1 near Yemen and the other between Yemen and Djibouti. During the attacks, pirates fired rocket-propelled grenades at their target. Fortunately, there were no hijackings to report.

Middendorp: “You were the first woman to teach there, which was groundbreaking”

“Security within the Netherlands is inextricably linked to a lack of security outside the Netherlands. The Royal Netherlands Marechaussee is ideally suited to operate in this grey area.” General Tom Middendorp spoke these words to 7 members of the Royal Netherlands Marechaussee  in the Nieuwe Kerk in The Hague as he was awarding the Commemoration Medal for International Missions for deployments to Afghanistan, Mali and Kosovo. Captain Miranda Weersink was one of the recipients of the medal. She was deployed individually to the EUCAP Sahel Mali mission to teach. During her time there, she raised the issues of corruption and women’s rights. General Middendorp praised her actions: “Your efforts were greatly appreciated. People often told you that they had never looked at it that way before. And the fact that you were the first woman to teach there was perhaps equally groundbreaking.”