As you may recall, about this time last year the plight of the Danica White was prominent in the news, at least in Denmark. The ship had been seized by pirates off the coast of Somalia, and the crew were held as hostages until the owners paid the ransom. The ordeal began in June and went on into August (see the bottom of this post for a list of Danica White links).
Now it’s a year later, and the Danes, along with other maritime nations, are preparing to do something about piracy in off the Horn of Africa. Our Danish correspondent TB has kindly translated information from Danish websites about the launching of the Absalon.
First, from Forsvaret [Defense]:
Danish naval ship on its way against pirate waters
The Danish naval ship is right now on its way towards the waters off the Horn of Africa where pirates hijacked a Malaysian tanker.
Absalon will be part of the Danish contribution to the international coalition of forces, Task Force 150. The international force consisting of 6 to 10 warships operates among other places in the area where the Malaysian ship got hijacked. Also on board the ship are the Navy Tactical Staff, who take over command of the whole Task Force 150 on September 15.
The Chief in Command for The Navy Operative Command (SOK), admiral Nils Wang says:
“The latest assault on a civilian commercial ship shows why it is necessary to have a naval force in the area. Not only to secure the crews on board the civilian ships sailing in these waters but also seen in a broader context to secure the commercial routes at sea.”
– – – – – – – – –
The admiral’s statement is supported by Danmarks Rederiforening (Union of Danish Shipping-companies), who in a press release from Aug 14 write: “Absalon’s participation is an important element among the many initiatives, not least from the Danish side, that have been taken to get rid of these pirates.”
The chief of The Navy Tactical Staff, Admiral Per Bigum Christensen who is on board Absalon says: “The latest incident shows a trend in which the assaults by pirates on the one side happen to larger and larger ships, and on the other side they have moved from The Bay of Somalia to The Gulf of Aden. These tendencies we will follow closely, and we will adapt our methods in Task force 150 to handle these things accordingly. A mission that we in The Navy Tactical Staff as well as in the crew are ready and well-equipped to carry out.
Concerning the arament and crew, as translated from Jyllands-Posten :
Press officer Jesper H. Lynge says that the crew from Absalon for the last half a year has been training specifically for this mission since it was mandated by Parliament.
“People can lose their lives down there, and that is regrettable, but we have to face reality. It is a mission where evil intentions can come up close and then people die,” says Jesper H. Lynge, who is the press officer in SOK.
Luckily the ship is heavily armed with some impressive firepower, and among other things has been equipped with one 127 millimetre and two 35 millimetre canons and Stinger missiles.
Apart from that there is a Lynx helicopter in the hangar waiting to go into action.
And TB adds this:
On board Absalon are 100 crew members and 60 navy seals (frømænd in Danish), military police officers, etc.
If it is of any interest to you Absalon is named after this guy.
Absalon (c. 1128 — March 21, 1201) was a Danish archbishop and statesman. He was the son of Asser Rig of Fjenneslev (Zealand), at whose castle he and his brother Esbjørn (Esbern) were brought up along with the young prince Valdemar, afterwards King Valdemar I.
Posts from last year about the Danica White:
Somali Pirates Take Danish Hostages
The Territorial Waters of a Failed State
Pirates Demand Ransom for Danish Seamen
Q-Ships, Pirates, and the Waters off Somalia
The Danica White Runs Out of Food and Water
Gossip-Mongers in Denmark
The Danica White: Eight Weeks and Counting
Danica White Hostages Have Been Released
The Danica White Has Been Released