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Danish contributions to Counter-Piracy missions

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The Danish ocean patrol vessel THETIS during the deployment to the Horn of Africa
The Danish ocean patrol vessel THETIS during the deployment to the Horn of Africa

Danish contributions to Counter-Piracy missions 

Since 2008, when the threat of piracy in East Africa was at its highest, Denmark has made significant contributions to the international efforts to counter piracy and enhance maritime safety off the coast of the Horn of Africa.

As a major maritime nation, Denmark has a particular interest in combating piracy. It is an important foreign policy priority for Denmark to contribute to strengthening maritime security for civilian shipping in exposed areas.

In addition to the military contributions, Denmark is also contributing to solving the underlying causes of piracy by supporting capacity building in East and West Africa.

The successful Danish comprehensive approach includes – besides the Ministry of Defence – a number of Danish authorities, including the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Ministry of Justice and the Ministry of Industry, Business and Financial Affairs as well as cooperation with the maritime industry.

Danish initiatives to counter piracy are founded in the Danish strategy for measures against piracy 2015-2018. The strategy is translated into English.

The military efforts
In 2007 off the coast of the Horn of Africa, pirates attempted to hijack three ships from the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) carrying emergency aid to Somalia. As a result France decided to escort vessels carrying emergency aid. In 2008, by request from France, Denmark took over the task of escorting vessels. The Danish ocean patrol vessel THETIS escorted a total of four WFP vessels during its deployment and thus shielded them from exposure to hijacking attempts by pirates. This type of effort was the launch of the Danish Defence’s continuous efforts to strengthen security for civilian vessels off the coast of the Horn of Africa.

From 2008-2015, the Danish Navy has on several occasions contributed with vessels to the multinational maritime coalition force Combined Maritime Forces (CMF), the Task Forces 150 and 151 as well as to NATO's counter piracy operation Ocean Shield. Furthermore, Denmark has periodically assumed command of Operation Ocean Shield and CMF Task Force 151.

In addition to the contribution of vessels, the Danish Defence has since 2011 regularly deployed a Challenger maritime patrol aircraft to monitor the coast of Somalia. The latest Challenger contribution was deployed in May and June 2017.

Capacity building in East Africa
Alongside the operational effort, Denmark has considered the building of local capacity to be a top priority. In East Africa Denmark continues to contribute with capacity building in order to prevent piracy from remerging as well as to support the countries in the region in order to make them better prepared to solve security challenges. The Danish efforts include bilateral cooperation with the Kenyan Navy where the Danish Defence has deployed a maritime advisor. From 2012-2016 Denmark also supported the African Union (AU) with the preparation and initial implementation of a maritime strategy through the deployment of a maritime advisor to the AU’s headquarters in Addis Ababa.

The Danish Defence’s efforts in the Gulf of Guinea
While the majority of the attacks off the Horn of Africa took place in international waters, the majority of the attacks in the Gulf of Guinea takes place within the territorial sea of the countries. This means that they are first and foremost a national and regional matter requiring regional and national efforts.

The Danish Defence’s efforts are therefore primarily directed towards capacity building of local security forces. Among other things, the Danish Special Forces have started a pilot project where partner units from Nigeria and Cameroun are trained in order to strengthen their ability to counter piracy and other crimes at sea. In 2017, Denmark posted a Defense Attaché to Nigeria.

Here you can read more about the efforts in West Africa

This article in Danish
Last updated 2018-08-29 - 14:20

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