Protection of Shipping in the Red Sea and the Gulf of Aden
Denmark, together with allied nations, contributes to an international coalition aimed at protecting shipping in the Red Sea and the Gulf of Aden from 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
The Danish Armed Forces contributes from the beginning of February 2024 until mid-April to Operation Prosperity Guardian in the Red Sea and the Gulf of Aden. The Danish contribution consists of the frigate Iver Huitfeldt with a crew of approximately 175 people. The contribution includes, among other things, a Seahawk helicopter.
Operation Prosperity Guardian aims to protect international shipping in the waters, which are a vital international trade route, from attacks by the Yemeni Houthi movement. Since November 2023 and in connection with the war between Israel and Hamas, the movement has carried out a series of attacks and attempted attacks on civilian shipping and international military vessels. The attacks have included missile and drone attacks as well as hijackings.
Attacks in and around the Red Sea and the Gulf of Aden threaten maritime security and global trade. As a significant maritime nation, Denmark has a responsibility to strengthen maritime security. Therefore, the Danish Armed Forces contributes with Iver Huitfeldt.
By sending a Danish frigate to the area, Denmark, along with contributions from other coalition partners, provides a significant military presence in the region and sends a clear signal to the Houthi movement to cease illegal actions and attacks. Denmark has one of the world's largest merchant fleets, and protecting the right to freedom of navigation, sea lanes, and ship crews from attacks is a high priority.
In addition to participating in Operation Prosperity Guardian, Denmark provides 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.
A modern and powerful warship
The frigate Iver Huitfeldt is a modern and powerful warship that, along with coalition partners, can counter threats from the weapons possessed by the Houthi movement in Yemen. The frigates have a high degree of endurance and can operate independently for extended periods without resupply. Iver Huitfeldt's crew is well-trained and prepared for the task. The crew underwent Fleet Operational Sea Training (FOST) in England before deployment. It is a six-week training and familiarization task aimed at preparing the ship and crew to handle tasks across the spectrum of conflict, including combat operations.
The frigate Iver Huitfeldt may be subjected to attacks upon arrival in the Red Sea. Therefore, the frigate is equipped to counter the threat from the Houthi movement. The frigate has a full weapons package and, together with its allies in Combined Maritime Forces, can counter attacks from the Houthi movement, which typically uses drones, missiles, and fast boats.
Iver Huitfeldt has a mandate for self-defence and extended self-defence. This means that the frigate can use force to protect itself and nearby ships from attacks.
Combined Maritime Forces
The maritime operation in the Red Sea and the Gulf of Aden is led by the existing maritime coalition Combined Maritime Forces, which aims to ensure the right to freedom of navigation through the Red Sea, the Bab al-Mandab Strait, and the Gulf of Aden. Denmark already contributes staff officers to Combined Maritime Forces and has previously deployed naval vessels to the area.
Period of timeFra 2024