Netherlands to extend its contribution to EU counter-piracy mission

The Netherlands is to extend its participation in the European Union’s counter-piracy mission ‘Operation Atalanta’ by one year. The Cabinet approved the proposal submitted by foreign minister Bert Koenders and defence minister Jeanine Hennis-Plasschaert. Two naval ships will therefore be deployed to the mission off the Somali coast next year. The Netherlands has participated in counter-piracy operations in the area since 2009.

Since 2012, the number of hijackings has declined sharply, with no successful hijacking of a merchant vessel since the spring of that year. To ensure that this trend continues, counter-piracy measures – both on land and at sea – remain essential. On land, international efforts are needed to help Somalia tackle the underlying causes of piracy. Therefore, besides deploying naval ships the Netherlands is also working to enhance security and stability in Somalia itself, by helping to train the army and supporting the development of Somali and regional maritime institutions.

The Netherlands’ contribution to the NATO counter-piracy mission ‘Operation Ocean Shield’ will not be extended. The ship currently deployed to that mission will be made available to the Standing NATO Maritime Group, the alliance’s immediate reaction force.