|Photo: Royal Netherlands Navy|
During the two-day operation, the medical team provided assistance to over 150 villagers. "During these medical visits we saw a lot of villagers with a variety of medical issues” said Surgeon Capt. Chris Bleeker, the anaesthetist on board the flagship who led the deployed medical team. "Some people were able to be treated fully; others were offered partial treatment within the facilities available. All the villagers were happy to receive medical attention, some for the first time ever, and all went back home smiling”, said Capt. Bleeker.
NATO has contributed to the international counter piracy effort off the Horn of Africa since December 2008. The mission has expanded from escorting UN and World Food Programme Shipping under Operation Allied Provider and protecting merchant traffic in the Gulf of Aden under Operation Allied Protector. In addition to these activities and as part of the latest mission, Operation Ocean Shield, NATO is working with other international bodies to help develop capacity of countries in the region to tackle piracy on their own.
HNLMS Rotterdam, flagship of NATO Task Force 508, continues her patrol within Operation Ocean Shield, the NATO-contribution to the international counter piracy effort in the waters around the Horn of Africa. The ship has 350 people embarked, from all services and from 8 NATO-countries.
NATO Allies agreed on 19 March 2012 to extend Operation Ocean Shield for a further two years until the end of 2014.
NATO Forces currently in Operation Ocean Shield:
HNLMS Rotterdam (flagship) The Netherlands
USS Halyburton (Unites States of America)
Challenger Maritime Patrol Aircraft (Denmark)
(NATO/Allied Command Operations, 6 September 2012)