The Netherlands Hands over Command of NATO Naval Unit
In Aksaz on Friday 17 June, Commodore Michiel Hijmans handed over command of Standing NATO Maritime Group 2 to his Turkish counterpart, Commodore Sinan Tosun. Commodore Hijmans and his staff have led this NATO flotilla for the past year.
The multinational flotilla SNMG2 forms the maritime component of the NATO Response Force. This unit, which is on standby at all times, allows the Alliance to respond quickly and flexibly to security situations. The mainly Dutch staff has spent almost a year at sea, supported by 3 Dutch flagships.
For the last six-and-a-half months, the commodore and his staff have led NATO’s Ocean Shield counterpiracy mission. In that period, the multinational flotilla consisting of American, Danish, Turkish and Dutch ships, has been very successful in its efforts to counter piracy. Hijmans handed over command of this operation earlier this week.
“In the past period we have rescued more than 100 hostages and apprehended around 170 pirates, several of whom have been handed over for prosecution. We disabled more than 30 pirate ships and seized hundreds of weapons”, said Hijmans during the change of command. “At this moment there are still 17 ships carrying around 400 innocent crew members being held hostage under very difficult conditions. We must do everything in our power to prevent any more ships from being hijacked.”
During the ceremony, the staff of SNMG2 received the NATO medal for participation in Active Endeavour. The flotilla took part in this operation in the autumn of 2010.
Source: defensie, June 23, 2011;