Danish and Colombian Navy vessels exercise at sea during NATO’s counter-piracy Operation OCEAN SHIELD
GULF OF ADEN – Yesterday the Danish Navy ship HDMS ABSALON and the Columbian Navy vessel ARC 7 DE AGOSTO met at sea for a day of naval training within the framework of NATO's counter-piracy Operation OCEAN SHIELD.
The training began with ARC 7 DE AGUSTO's helicopter landing on the deck of HDMS ABSALON, marking the first time a Columbian helicopter has ever landed on a Danish Navy ship. This interaction featured Columbian Special Operations Forces (SOF) rappelling from the helicopter onto the ABSALON.
The Danish Special Maritime Insurgency Team used the opportunity to demonstrate the intricate anti-piracy setup onboard ABSALON, a ship uniquely equipped to meet the tactical and logistical demands of an anti-piracy operation.
During the interaction, the two ships conducted a "cross-pollination" exchange, where seven officers and enlisted members of the Columbian crew visited the Danish Amphibious Command Ship while six Danish servicemen visited ARC 7 DE AGOSTO. The Danish group was led by the Commanding Officer of ABSALON, Commander Senior Grade Per Moll Petersen. The Spanish Navy liaison officer aboard 7 DE AGOSTO, Lieutenant Commander Rafael Gallego Naranjo, helped breach any linguistic barriers.
The Danish helicopter crew also landed on the deck of the Columbian Ocean Patrol Vessel during the exchange, and the ships conducted several replenishment-at-sea approaches to further enhance interoperability between the naval forces.
HDMS ABSALON has recently rejoined NATO's counter-piracy Task Force 508 in the Gulf of Aden, demonstrating NATO's and the Danish government's commitment to securing the important waterway for maritime commerce. Continued naval presence in the area is enhanced by a day of cooperation with an international partner such as the Columbian Navy.
"A day working closely with the ARC 7 DE AGOSTO and her crew puts our anti-piracy efforts into perspective," said Commander Petersen. "Not only are NATO and Denmark watchful and alert, but so is rest of the world. We will not allow a resurgence of pirate activity in this area."
ARC 7 DE AGOSTO is supporting NATO's Task Force 508, while remaining under national operational control (OPCON). The ship previously supported the European Union Naval Force's counter-piracy Task Force 465.
"The Columbian presence here is a commendable example of the will and determination to leave your comfort zone," said Commander Petersen. "The strong focus on internal security issues within Columbian territorial waters has not made the Columbian Navy shy away from security issues on the global scene. The Columbians have shown a willingness to look outward, which is worthy of high praise."