Under en patrulje i Omanbugten mødte Iver Huitfeldt tankskibet Torm Ragnhild. Helikopteren var i luften i forbindelse med en af de daglige flyvninger, som er en vigtig kilde til overvågning og forståelse af området.

In November 2021, Denmark will send a frigate to the Gulf of Guinea to improve maritime safety for civilian ships whose crews risk being attacked and kidnapped by pirates while working in the Gulf of Guinea. Photo: Danish Navy.

By the Danish Defense Command

Denmark will deploy the frigate Esbern Snare to the Gulf of Guinea for five months, from around November, to patrol waters and thus increase maritime security. According to the Danish government and the Parliament, navy assets are needed to increase security for merchant shipping in the area and protect Danish interests, as well as Danish and international shipping.

“I am pleased that with the Esbern Snare frigate we can provide contingency efforts and capabilities to improve the situation in the Gulf of Guinea. It is a key task for the Danish Navy to contribute to free navigation and security at sea, and therefore I see it as very positive that our naval vessels with their skilled crews can contribute to international security. I know that the frigate is up to the task, and I am sure that the frigate can improve the situation for all active sailors and crews in the region”, says Danish Commander of the Navy, Rear Admiral Torben Mikkelsen.

The frigate's task will be to protect Danish and other ships in the area from pirate attacks and, in general, create safer conditions for shipping in the area.

The frigate will be under Danish command, and the total strength will be approx 175 personnel from various services and branches in the Danish Armed Forces. They will include special operations forces as well as personnel from the Military Police and the Navy's diving service. The frigate's helicopter will increase the contingent’s active action range, which marks a significant boost of its capabilities.

An estimated 30 Danish-controlled ships are in the Gulf of Guinea at any given time, and they transport goods worth more than a billion US-dollars annually.

Previous anti-piracy efforts

From 2008 to 2017, the Danish Navy and the Danish Air Force contributed to the anti-piracy efforts at the Horn of Africa and in the Gulf of Aden. So the Danish defense has some experience with anti-piracy efforts, although the conditions here will be not the same. For example, merchant ships in the Gulf of Guinea often have to ply littoral waters, while off the Horn of Africa they most often followed shipping routes in international waters.

In addition to deploying the frigate, it is also Denmark's ambition to train the littoral states' own authorities and forces to enable them to improve maritime security in the region. Training for such activities has been conducted since 2016. The naval contingent is thus supplemented by training of the littoral states' own forces, financed through the Peace and Stabilization Fund.