THE HAGUE–Royal Dutch Navy ship Zr. Ms. Karel Doorman will leave Den Helder, the Netherlands, on Monday, April 13, bound for the Caribbean. The Dutch Ministry of Defence said it is deploying the ship to provide immediate support to Caribbean civil authorities in the coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic, if needed. The ship is tentatively being deployed for three months.
“With the presence of this logistic support ship, the Caribbean islands will be able to rely on versatile and rapidly deployable capability in addition to that of the [Dutch – Ed.] guard ship already present in the region, Zr. Ms. Zeeland.
“Zr. Ms. Karel Doorman can provide support in the form of transport capability in order to, for example, guarantee food security. Additionally, the ship can assist the Dutch Caribbean Coast Guard in maritime border control and can act as a base of operations from which to quickly provide men and materiel in support of maintaining public order on land.
“Lastly, the ship also houses medical resources that can support the local healthcare system by providing non-COVID-related emergency treatment,” said the Royal Dutch Navy in a press release on Thursday.
Over the past couple weeks, the Dutch Ministry of Defence has received several requests for assistance in the fight against coronavirus from authorities in the Dutch Caribbean.
“At present, Defence is already assisting with units stationed in the region, including support in maritime border control and in maintaining public order. By positioning Zr. Ms. Karel Doorman in the region, Defence will ensure that additional support can be provided at very short notice whenever it is needed,” according to the press release.
In addition to her own capabilities as a transport and supply ship, the vessel will be augmented by two Cougar helicopters from the Royal Dutch Air Force which can be used for medical transport and evacuation, and with drones from the Royal Dutch Army and Royal Dutch Navy to assist in picture compilation. The Royal Dutch Air Force has also supplied a medical team with surgical capability and a medical team for basic medical support on shore.
The Royal Dutch Marine Corps will also take part in the deployment, with vehicles and landing craft for transport purposes. “An additional marine unit can be flown in if necessary. The ship will also carry a hurricane disaster relief package,” said the Royal Dutch Navy.
Both France and the United Kingdom (UK) have a navy ship in the region, and a coordination cell has been established on Martinique between these countries to facilitate cooperation. “Zr. Ms. Karel Doorman could, for example, provide fuel for these ships,” said the Royal Dutch Navy.
Source: The Daily Herald https://www.thedailyherald.sx/islands/dutch-navy-ship-sent-to-assist-in-the-caribbean