Image courtesy Danish Armed Forces

Danish Frigate Deploys on Anti-Piracy Operation in Gulf of Guinea

Mike Schuler
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October 28, 2021

The Danish frigate Esbern Snare is en route to the Gulf of Guinea to join the international fight against piracy.

The frigate departed Naval Base Frederikshavn on Sunday with approximately 175 personnel comprising the permanent crew, military police, an expanded medical team, and a detachment of naval special forces. The vessel, equipped with a helicopter, is expected to arrive in the region in November and stay for approximately six months.

The Gulf of Guinea continues to be a global hotspot for piracy and armed robbery against ships and crew kidnappings. On average, up to 40 Danish-operating ships are operating in the region on any given day transporting around $1.5 billion in good annually.

“We must deploy there to increase the security of the civilian ships in the area and intervene in the event of any pirate attacks,” says Commander Lars Povl Jensen, who is in charge of the frigate.

The deployment marks the Danish first anti-piracy mission since leaving the Horn of Africa, where it was operating from 2008 to 2017.

“I expect that we will come down to a task that is very similar to the one we solved off the east coast of Africa. But we also expect that there will be differences. There will be a different navigational pattern, for example, where vessels do not sail along fixed routes, and there are littoral countries with coastguards that we can cooperate with but also have to accommodate,” Commander Jensen said.

The Esbern Snare will join several other European countries that have had naval assets in the region, although the frigate deployment will be purely a Danish operation. Denmark will also support anti-piracy operations by working with littoral states, such as Ghana.

The deployment comes after Denmark committed to sending a frigate to the region back in March following a call by Danish shipping conglomerate A.P. Moller-Maersk A/S and shipping industry groups for a more concerted international response.

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