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 6th 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 Jakob Brix Tange 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.


Furthermore, the Danish Defence deployed the Frigate Esbern Snare to the Gulf of Guinea from November 2021 until February 2022 when it was recalled to Denmark due to the security situation in Europe as a consequence of Russia’s illegal invasion of Ukraine. The purpose of the deployment was to strengthen maritime security for Danish and international vessels in the region against piracy. The Danish Parliament approved the deployment om 25 May 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.


Most recently, the Danish Parliament approved on 25 May 2021 the deployment of the Frigate Esbern Snare including an on-board MH-60R Seahawk helicopter to the Gulf of Guinea. The Frigate was deployed to the Gulf of Guinea from November 2021 until February 2022 and consisted of a total crew of up to 195 including special operation forces, military police and medical personnel.


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. In order to support the development of local and regional law and military enforcement capabilities Denmark has established a maritime peace and stabilization programme for the Gulf of Guinea running from 2022-2026 with a total budget of 198 million DKK of which 98 million DKK is allocated to activities led by the Danish Defence.


The Danish Defence’s efforts are therefore primarily directed towards capacity building of local security forces. Among other things, Danish Special Operation 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 and in 2021 an additional maritime military advisor was posted to Ghana.

Here you can read more about the efforts in West Africa

  • Place

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    Fra 2008
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