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The Royal Netherlands Navy (RNN) landing platform dock Hr. Ms. Rotterdam left its home port of Den Helder yesterday to participate in NATO's Operation Ocean Shield counterpiracy mission off the coast of Somalia.

Dutch Ministry of Defense photo

Embarked on the Rotterdam are Dutch army Scan Eagle unmanned aerial vehicles, four of the Royal Netherlands Marines' new fast raiding interception and special forces craft (FRISC), four other vessels, and two Defense Helicopter Command Cougars. The FRISCs will be used by specially trained Marine teams in proactive counterpiracy actions such as boarding suspect vessels, patrols close to the coast and overpowering pirates.

The 320 crew members also include medical personnel for the onboard hospital, members of a hydrographic-meteorological unit, and interpreters.

When the Rotterdam reaches the Somali coast, the staff of the NATO task force, led by RNN Commodore Ben Bekkering, will be transferred aboard from the LCF air defense and command frigate Hr. Ms. Evertsen, from which it is currently commanding Operation Ocean Shield.

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