HNLMS Van Amstel joins NATO in the Aegean Sea

The Royal Netherlands Navy’s Karel Doorman-class frigate HNLMS Van Amstel is joining NATO’s fight against people-smugglers in the Aegean Sea.

The De Schelde Group-built frigate will integrate into NATO’s Standing Nato Mine Maritime Group 2 (SNMG 2). The ship was already at sea and is now sailing towards the deployment region.

In the last days, NATO expanded the area of activity into the territorial waters of Turkey and Greece, in close coordination with both countries. NATO also initiated closer cooperation with the EU’s border agency Frontex.

SNMG2 has been active in the waters off the Greek island of Lesbos and the Turkish coast. This area will later be expanded to waters around Greek islands of Chios, Samos and Kos.

Dutch Minister of Defense, Jeanine Hennis-Plasschaert, said: “Traffickers are our enemies, not refugees. HNLMS Van Amstel will be used to tackle illegal trafficking networks.”

The frigate will be participating in the NATO operation with around 150 sailors until early July, 2016.