SINT MAARTEN/CURACAO – Zr.Ms. Karel Doorman leaves for the Caribbean on Monday. The Dutch Ministry of Defense will send the naval vessel to support civilian authorities in fighting the corona crisis if the situation calls for it. The support and supply vessel is initially deployed for three months in the Caribbean Region.
As soon as the Karel Doorman is located in the Caribbean waters, islands can fall back on a versatile and quickly deployable capacity. For example, this concerns transport support so that the islanders receive food. In addition, the navy ship supports the coastguard with maritime border surveillance if desired. The vessel can also serve as a base. For example, landing personnel and equipment quickly to support the local authorities in maintaining public order. The Karel Doorman also has medical facilities to support the local health care in non-COVID-related emergency care.
Helicopters and Marines
Two Cougar transport helicopters of the Defense Helicopter Command will also be on-board the Zr.Ms. Karel Doorman. The helicopters are available in the Caribbean for medical transport and medical evacuations.
The ship has medical teams: 1 with surgical capacity, the other for basic shore care. Drones from the army and navy may provide image building in the area. Marine units are also equipped with vehicles and landing craft on board, so that there is transport capacity in the area. If necessary, an additional marine unit can be flown in. The ship even has a hurricane emergency kit with it.
The local authorities of the Caribbean part of the Kingdom have submitted various requests for assistance in recent weeks. In it, the Ministry of Defense was asked to help fight the COVID-19 virus.
The Dutch Ministry of Defense currently already supports local units with maritime units, such as maritime border surveillance and maintaining public order. With the proximity of Zr.Ms. Karel Doorman in the Caribbean Region, this ensures that extra support on site when requested can be quickly provided. The station ship Zr.Ms. Zeeland is already in the Dutch Caribbean. This ship is also helping the islands.
France and the United Kingdom also each have a naval vessel in the area. A coordination cell has been set up with these countries in Martinique to cooperate where necessary. For example, the Karel Doorman can supply these ships with fuel.
Archive photo: Cougar transport helicopters.