The frigate Iver Huitfeldt to protect shipping
Denmark contributes to Operation Prosperity Guardian in the Red Sea and the Gulf of Aden with the frigate Iver Huitfeldt. Along with several contributing countries in the Combined Maritime Forces, the frigate is tasked with protecting international shipping from illegal attacks by the Houthi movement in Yemen.
The frigate Iver Huitfeldt departs from Korsør. The frigate is Denmark's contribution to strengthening maritime security in the Red Sea and the Gulf of Aden. Photo: Rune Dyrholm / Danish Armed Forces
By the Defense Command
In response to the Houthi movement's illegal attacks on ships in the Red Sea and the Gulf of Aden sailing in international waters, Denmark is deploying the frigate Iver Huitfeldt to join the Combined Maritime Forces fleet, which consists of a coalition of countries.
The frigate Iver Huitfeldt set sail on Monday, January 29th from Korsør bound for the Mediterranean. The frigate will only be deployed to the operational area once the operation is approved by a political majority in the Danish Parliament.
Defense Minister Troels Lund Poulsen emphasizes the importance of Denmark's support for ensuring freedom of navigation on the world's seas.
"The attacks in and around the Red Sea and the Gulf of Aden threaten maritime security and global trade. As a major maritime nation, Denmark has a responsibility to strengthen maritime security. Therefore, the Danish Armed Forces contributes with the frigate Iver Huitfeldt to Operation Prosperity Guardian in the Red Sea and the Gulf of Aden."
Troels Lund Poulsen continues:
"With the contribution to Operation Prosperity Guardian, Denmark demonstrates the willingness and ability to protect the right to freedom of navigation, sea trade routes, and ship crews from attacks by the Houthi movement in Yemen."
Chief of Defence: Challenging mission for the Navy
Chief of Defence Flemming Lentfer visited the crew of Iver Huitfeldt before their departure and stated:
"It is mission with a significant likelihood of the use of armed force. The crew is ready to take on this important task. I have confirmed this during my visit to the frigate. We will, among other things, work together with American naval units. We have done this before. They know who we are and what qualities the Danish navy have."
The frigate Iver Huitfeldt will be part of Combined Task Force 153 (CTF153) and will contribute to creating secure conditions for shipping in international waters, including protecting civilian ships subject to hijacking attempts.
"It is a necessary and important task that the Defense is now undertaking," emphasizes Chief of Defence General Flemming Lentfer.
The frigate will be deployed until April
The frigate will have a total crew of up to about 175 personnel and will include a Seahawk helicopter on board. The frigate will operate in the Red Sea and the Gulf of Aden from early February to mid-April 2024. In addition to participating in Operation Prosperity Guardian, Denmark is providing a staff officer to an American-led offensive coalition. The coalition conducts offensive actions against the Houthi movement with the aim of reducing its ability to attack shipping.
The waters of the Red Sea and the Gulf of Aden are vital arteries for world trade, and hundreds of ships pass through the area every month. Since November 2023, the Houthi movement, which controls the western and northern parts of Yemen, has carried out attacks on international shipping, including Danish-owned ships.
Prepared for combat
No ships sailing in the Red Sea and the Gulf of Aden can currently consider themselves safe from the threat posed by the Houthi movement, including Iver Huitfeldt, when it is expected to enter the operational area in early February.
To counter attacks from the Houthi movement, Iver Huitfeldt is equipped with the full existing arsenal and, together with its allies in the Combined Maritime Forces, can counter attacks from the Houthi movement. The frigate Iver Huitfeldt has a mandate for self-defence and extended self-defence, meaning that the frigate and its crew can use force to protect themselves and nearby ships from attacks.
Iver Huitfeldt's crew has just completed Fleet Operational Sea Training (FOST) in England, a six-week training and familiarization task designed to prepare the ship and crew to handle tasks across the conflict spectrum, including combat operations.
In addition to the frigate Iver Huitfeldt, Denmark also has staff officers at the Combined Maritime Forces headquarters in Bahrain, where the leadership of Combined Task Force 153 is located. The staff officers are present to support the operation and international coordination.
For the media
For operational reasons, it will not be possible to include the press during the deployment of the frigate.
Combined Maritime Forces
Combined Maritime Forces (CMF) is a multinational partnership of countries that contribute to maintaining freedom of navigation and respect for international law in the waters around the Arabian Peninsula and the Horn of Africa. 39 countries, including Denmark, participate in this collaboration.
Combined Maritime Forces is headquartered in Bahrain and has five Task Forces under its command. One of them is Combined Task Force 153, which leads Operation Prosperity Guardian, aimed at protecting shipping in the Red Sea and the Gulf of Aden from attacks by the Houthi movement. Up to 20 countries participate in Operation Prosperity Guardian.
Denmark contributed to Combined Maritime Forces' anti-piracy operations from 2008 to 2017 as part of Task Forces and in Operation Ocean Shield. The Danish Armed Forces has also deployed frigates in carrier groups, which have fought the ISIL terrorist organization and protected shipping in the Strait of Hormuz.