Her Netherlands Majesty's Ship Zeeleeuw, a submarine which has participated in Operation Ocean Shield, arrived in Lisbon to report on her mission. This opportunity was seized to recognize the service of the crew and award NATO's Non-Article Five Africa Medal. The Commander of Allied Joint Force Command Lisbon, Lieutenant General Philippe Stoltz, along with his Chief of Staff, Rear Admiral Fernando Manuel de Macedo Pires da Cunha, boarded the submarine in Oeiras and sailed with the crew to Rocha Londe de Obidos in Lisbon. This enabled the JFC Lisbon Commander to visit with the Commander of HNLMS Zeeleeuw, Lieutenant Commander Erwin Ruijsink, and the sailors aboard while experiencing some of the unique atmosphere that is involved with serving on a submarine.
In cooperation with international actors, NATO is actively engaged in exercising a mandate of the United Nations to monitor the sea, secure the waterways, stop pirate activities and deter further piracy off of the Horn of Africa. Allied Joint Force Command Lisbon is the Headquarters that directs NATO's Operation Ocean Shield.
For the past two months, together with the other ships of NATO Task Force 508, HNLMS Zeeleeuw patrolled the coast of Somalia gathering intelligence about pirates and monitoring pirate camps. Because of the submarine's abilities demonstrated during this deployment, HNLMS Zeeleeuw proved to be an invaluable resource in Operation Ocean Shield while serving with honour and distinction.
The Medal Parade occurred in the Portuguese Alfeite Naval Base in presence of the Ambassador of the Netherlands to Portugal, HE Henk Soeters, and several NATO officials from Lisbon, Northwood and Naples, as well as representatives of the Portuguese Navy.