Dutch Navy amphibious ship joins NATO operation Sea Guardian

HNLMS Karel Doorman, the Royal Netherlands Navy’s multi-purpose amphibious ship, got underway from its Den Helder homeport on April 4 to join the NATO-led operation Sea Guardian.

Karel Doorman will spend the next nine weeks patrolling the Mediterranean Sea monitoring patterns-of-life to detect suspicious activities at sea.

In addition to maritime situational awareness, counter-terrorism operations are one of the main tasks of operation Sea Guardian. This is why the Dutch ship will be hosting Tunisian anti-terror personnel on board for joint exercises.

This will be Karel Doorman’s second deployment after undergoing extensive, year-long engine repairs which concluded in April last year. Prior to deploying to the Mediterranean, the ship supported hurricane relief efforts in the Caribbean after Hurricane Irma struck the Dutch overseas territory of Saint Maarten, destroying a third of buildings on the island.

HNLMS Karel Doorman is headed for the Mediterranean with 300 people on board. In addition to the helicopter detachment and medical personnel for a fully-fledged hospital, Karel Doorman is also home to marines from the Netherlands, Belgium and Denmark. The international unit has been preparing for their role within the NATO Response Force after the three countries signed a letter of intent to sign a “Composite Special Operations Component” in March 2017.

HNLMS Karel Doorman is a 204-meter ship, launched in October 2012 by shipbuilder Damen in Galati, Romania and commissioned into the Royal Netherlands Navy in April 2015.