The Netherlands leads NATO flotilla

Commodore Michiel Hijmans took over command of Standing NATO Maritime Group 2 (SNMG2) from British Commodore Steve Chick in the Egyptian port of Safaga on 30 June. The military ceremony took place on board HNLMS De Zeven Provinciën, the new flagship of the NATO flotilla.

Hijmans will command the naval squadron, which will be deployed for tasks including counterpiracy operations around the Horn of Africa and maritime operations in the Mediterranean, for one year. According to the new commander, the Standing NATO Maritime Groups are deployed wherever in the world they are needed.

Ocean Shield

After the handover ceremony, the flotilla left for the Horn of Africa to take part in Operation Ocean Shield. This maritime NATO mission focuses primarily on countering piracy in the Gulf of Aden and the Somali Basin. This is done in constant coordination with the maritime units of the EU’s Operation Atalanta, the Combined Maritime Task Force (CTF-151) and various independent naval operations conducted by Russia, China, Japan, South Korea, India and other countries.

In addition to counterpiracy operations, the maritime units of the NATO naval squadron also provide support to the regional states in developing their own capabilities for combating piracy.