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Absalon-class frigate HDMS Esbern Snare. Photo: Danish Ministry of Defence

Absalon-class frigate HDMS Esbern Snare. Photo: Danish Ministry of Defence

Denmark to Send Frigate to Join US-Led Naval Operation in the Red Sea

Mike Schuler
Total Views: 3381
December 29, 2023

In an effort to combat Houthi attacks on civilian shipping in the Red Sea, Denmark has announced its plans to send a frigate to join the U.S.-led Operation Prosperity Guardian.

The decision, which was made following consultation with the Denmark’s Foreign Policy Council, comes as Houthi militants have continued their drone and missile attacks on ships in the Southern Red Sea, with the U.S. reporting a total of 22 attacks or attempted attacks since October 19.

Denmark’s support of the operation also comes as Danish shipping giant Maersk, the world’s second largest shipping line, is resuming transits through the region as others steer clear of the area, opting instead to continue sending ships around the Cape of Good Hope.

“We are concerned about the serious situation unfolding in the Red Sea, where the unprovoked attacks against civilian shipping continue,” said Danish Defense Minister Troels Lund Poulsen. “Denmark already contributes to maritime security in the area, and the government wants to increase the contribution by deploying a Danish frigate.”

The Danish frigate is expected to join Operation Prosperity Guardian (OPG) in late January, pending approval by the Danish Parliament. The naval coalition was established by the U.S. earlier this month and aims to ensure freedom of navigation in the Red Sea and the Gulf of Aden. Denmark was notably absent from the list of 10 countries that had initially signed-up for the operation, but it is part of the existing US-led multi-national maritime coalition known as Combined Maritime Forces (CMF) under which OPG falls. Currently, Denmark contributes three staff officers to CMF, including one staff officer assigned to OPG.

The Ministry of Defence shared an image of Absalon-class frigate HDMS Esbern Snare in its announcement of the deployment, but did not specifically name the frigate that will be sent to join the operation.

“The attacks in and around the Red Sea and the Gulf of Aden threaten maritime security, our shipping industry, and global trade,” said Danish Foreign Minister Lars Løkke Rasmussen. “As a major maritime nation, we have a responsibility to strengthen maritime security. We are now doing that with the frigate contribution to the American-led coalition. It cannot go unchallenged when the Houthis, in an already heightened security situation, attack international shipping.”

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