Corporal Nanda Rietveld - Nearly in the mission area

Corporal Nanda Rietveld on board HNLMS Evertsen.

We have now passed through the Suez Canal and the preparations are in full swing. Intelligence is now becoming increasingly important in my branch. There are several sources that we monitor to see if there is any news. In any case the command centre is manned 24 hours a day to keep an eye on what's going on, on land, in the air and at sea.

We will be on defence watch in the mission area, which involves 5 and 7 hour watches. In between there is time to sleep and relax. I always like to get some fitness training in too.

Fighting piracy
But first we will be arriving in Jeddah, where we will take over the staff part of Ocean Shield from a Turkish frigate. That means that we'll be officially taking over command of the counterpiracy operation.

3 weeks
We have been away for just over 3 weeks now and we have already visited 3 ports. A lot of exercises were scheduled in those weeks. For instance manoeuvring exercises for the bridge, Adex (air defence exercises) and Casex (anti-submarine exercises) for the command centre. There were also NBCD exercises, such as a fire drill and a crash on deck. This is quite important, because if there is a fire on board we have to be able to deal with it ourselves.


Leading Rating Nanda Rietveld with colleagues in Istanbul.

On 22 May, we arrived in Istanbul for a port visit devoted to 400 years of trade relations with Turkey. After 2 days at sea, we arrived at Aksaz, where we had a few briefings. Of course there was also time to relax a bit and we had an all-hands barbecue/football tournament. After 3 days with lots of sunshine we headed for the Suez Canal, which we passed through on 2 June.