During a patrol in the ‘Internationally Recommended Transit Corridor
' (IRTC), an imaginary highway where merchant ships can pass the Gulf of Aden under maritime supervision, HNLMS Evertsen watched over a crude oil tanker with engine problems.
On patrol in the Gulf of Aden HNLMS Evertsen constantly keeps in contact with commercial vessels that cruise east and west through the area. Not only to get a clear picture of which measures of protection the ships have taken to avoid possible piracy attacks, but also to let the merchants and potential pirates know that the warship is in the vicinity. "During this patrol we heard that a crude oil tanker was lying in the water with engine problems”, tells the commanding officer of the Air Defence and Command frigate, commander Boudewijn Boots. "With best speed we went over to the tanker, to be around just in case”.
Even though the MV Primo Stealth had taken excellent precautions to protect it self - including barbed wire, water hoses, blocking the ladders and a citadel - it at that moment lacked the ability to sail at high speed and manoeuvre. This is an important condition to avoid pirate skiffs. "So while lying still in these waters, the captain of the tanker found it a very reassuring thought that we were alongside. And we had the opportunity to show that we are here to protect commercial shipping”, states Boots. The help offered to repair the engine was not needed. After three hours both the tanker and HNLMS Evertsen proceeded on their journey.
HNLMS Evertsen is the Flagship of Operation Ocean Shield, the counter piracy mission of NATO. As part of the maritime taskforce (TF 508) the ship will patrol the waters off the coast of Somalia to counter maritime piracy, while participating in capacity building efforts with regional governments. TF 508 is under command of the Dutch commodore Ben Bekkering.