Maltese Boarding Team Conducts Fast-Rope Exercise Aboard Johan de Witt

Maltese Boarding Team Conducts Fast-Rope Exercise

Earlier this week, the Maltese Special Duties Enhanced Boarding Team (MSDEBT) on board the EU Naval Force (EUNAVFOR) ship Johan de Witt conducted a fast-rope exercise. They fast-roped from one of the two Cougar helicopters embarked on the Dutch warship.

The Johan de Witt is currently the flagship of the EUNAVFOR counter-piracy mission off the Horn of Africa.

During a fast-roping the team decends down a rope, hung under a helicopter, using only hands and feet to control the speed of their decent. This tactic makes it possible to quickly insert troops on a ship from a helicopter. It is one of the possible operations to deter, prevent and repress acts of piracy and armed robbery at sea off the Somali coast.

Maltese Boarding Team Conducts Fast-Rope Exercise1

This is one of the many capabilities on board of HNLMS Johan de Witt, the Dutch Flagship of EU NAVFOR. HNLMS Johan de Witt is a Landing Platform Dock, 176.5 metres in length and 16,948 tonnes displacement. She can accommodate up to 600 personnel and has many different assets, including an enhanced medical facility, with a fully equipped operating theatre and a specialised medical team. The ship is also equipped with a Landing Craft Task Element and a Scan Eagle UAV, an unmanned aircraft. In addition, the warship has a team from Belgium on board who operate a specialised boarding craft known as a Fast Raiding Interception and Special Forces Craft (FRISC).

EUNAVFOR protects World Food Programme (WFP) vessels delivering aid to displaced persons in Somalia; protects African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) shipping; and prevents, deters and represses acts of piracy and armed robbery at sea off the Horn of Africa. In addition, the EU NAVFOR also contributes to the monitoring of fishing activities off the coast of Somalia.

Press Release, August 14, 2013; Image: EUNAVFOR