Netherlands Deploys Warships to Support US and EU Red Sea Defense Missions

Netherlands frigate
HNLMS Tromp during a 2023 exercise in the North Sea (US Navy photo)

Published Mar 8, 2024 1:04 PM by The Maritime Executive


The Royal Netherlands Navy confirmed on Friday that it is dispatching an air defense and command frigate, HNLMS Tromp, to the Red Sea to aid in the defense mission. It also intends to deploy a joint logistics support ship to the region next month.

The country’s Foreign Affairs Minister, Hanke Bruins Slot, Minister of Defense, Kajsa Ollongren, and Minister of Foreign Trade and Development Cooperation, Geoffrey van Leeuwen, jointly reported to the House of Representatives today outlining the government’s plans for the mission. They highlighted growing concerns noting the seafarer fatalities that occurred for the first time this week as well as the direct economic interests of the Netherlands. They said Dutch consumers will probably have to deal with large price increases on products due to the interruption of the flow of goods.

The De Zeven Provinciën-class frigate HNLMS Tromp, a 6,000-ton vessel commissioned in 2003 manned with 200 sailors, will deploy tomorrow, March 9, sailing to the Red Sea. The vessel was scheduled to begin a world tour passing through the Red Sea, but under the new plan, it is expected to reach the area around the end of March and remain in the Red Sea for approximately 25 days.

The frigate will be part of the U.S.-led Operation Prosperity Guardian, although it will also support the EU Operation Aspides. They noted that it will not be under the command of the EU, but will share information and provide support when requested. 

Tromp is deploying with an NH90 maritime attack helicopter on board. It is also equipped to fight incoming missiles and drones.

The Netherlands had declared its support of the EU mission when it was announced while reporting it was considering how best to deploy its assets. They said it would be best not to have all the assets in the region at the same time but to spread out the capabilities for an extended period. The Netherlands has also provided two staff officers for Operation Prosperity Guardian.

The lower house of the Dutch Parliament was due to formally vote on the mission. While overwhelming support is expected they note the mission can proceed under government direction without the approval.

The government reports it also intends to deploy the logistics ship HNLMS Karel Doorman to Operation Aspides and to support the U.S. mission. Commissioned in 2015, the 27,800 ton vessel carries as many as 300 people including helicopter crews and medical teams. It is a multi-function ship capable of supporting amphibious operations. The current plan is to deploy the vessel in the Red Sea region between the end of April and the end of August.

Finnish President Alexander Stubb also reported today that his country will support both the EU and U.S. missions. After the first presidential session of government, they announced the decision to take part in the EU's EUNAVFOR Aspides naval operation sending up to five officers and that up to two soldiers would take part in the US-led, multinational Prosperity Guardian operation. They will perform staff duties to support both missions.

These steps come after Italy formally approved its participation in the EU mission at the beginning of the week. They are joining countries ranging from France, Germany, Denmark, and Greece in the EU missions as well as the U.S. and UK joint operations. India is also patrolling in the Gulf of Aden.