undervist 30 vestafrikanske søofficerer, så de bedre kan bekæmpe det store problem med pirateri i Guinea-bugten ud for Vestafrika.

Training of 30 West African naval officers to better combat piracy in the Gulf of Guinea off West Africa. Photo: The Danish Defence.

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 the 5th largest maritime nation, Denmark has a particular interest in combating piracy. It is an important foreign policy priority for Denmark to contribute to the strengthening of maritime security for civilian shipping in exposed and high risk areas.


As a direct consequence of the contemporary threat against civilian shipping the Government of Denmark has decided to appoint Ambassador Jens-Otto Horslund as the Danish government’s special representative for maritime security with a special focus on the Gulf of Guinea, supporting and strengthening the corporation with industry and international partners.


The Danish government has further announced that they intend to deploy af naval frigate to the Gulf of Guinea by the end of 2021 for a period of 6 months. The purpose of the deployment is to strengthen maritime security for Danish and international vessels in the region against piracy. Parliamental approval is expected by the end of spring 2021.

In addition to the military contributions, Denmark is also contributing to solving the underlying causes of piracy and other types of maritime crime 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 founded in the prioritypaper for the Danish efforts to combat piracy and other types of maritime crime 2019-2022.

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 Program (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 Defence 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 Ocean Shield and CMF Task Force 151. Denmark continues to contribute staff officers to CMF.

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


If the Danish parliament gives the mandate to a military contribution to the Gulf of Guinea will the effort consist of a crew of approximately 120. They will be joined by support troops from the Danish military police, medical staff and special operations. Denmark has two frigates and both have helicopter capabilities (MH-60R Seahawk) for reconnaissance and quick response use. 

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.

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, majority significant part 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, Danish Special Forces have taken part in the capacity building of partner units from Nigeria and Cameroun in order to strengthen their ability to counter piracy and other crimes at sea. In 2017, Denmark posted a maritime military advisor to Nigeria.

Here you can read more about the efforts in West Africa

  • flag Place

  • shield Operation strength

  • event Period of time

    Fra 2008
  • info Current