Dutch Navy Vessel’s Crew Intercepts Illegal Speedboat Just Hours After Completing Training

Damen delivered all the Dutch Navy's ocean-going patrol vessels 9 photos
Photo: Damen
Royal Netherlands Navy's Patrol VesselsRoyal Netherlands Navy's Patrol VesselsRoyal Netherlands Navy's Patrol VesselsRoyal Netherlands Navy's Patrol VesselsRoyal Netherlands Navy's Patrol VesselsZr. Ms. Groningen Patrol VesselZr. Ms. Groningen's Intercepting OperationRoyal Netherlands Navy's Patrol Vessels
Imagine completing your training on a military vessel and having to jump into action just a few hours later. That’s what the fresh crew of a Dutch navy OPV (ocean-going patrol vessel) recently accomplished in the Caribbean Sea. Intercepting a drug-smuggling speedboat soon after a new crew was launched - a first for the Dutch navy – is certainly a memorable way to kick off operations.
Some action movies are nothing compared to the missions of OPVs across the world. Although not as often in the spotlight as aircraft carriers and frigates, patrol vessels are an essential part of any navy’s fleet. From anti-piracy and counter-drug operations to humanitarian tasks, these speedy, powerful ships make sure that coastal waters are safe.

The day of their final training session turned out to be much more exciting than what the crew of this Dutch OPV probably expected. Just hours after completing their training, the onboard crew Zr. Ms. Groningen was sent to intercept a speedboat that was believed to be carrying illegal cargo, discovered by a coastal guard in the south of Curacao.

The Dutch Review reports that two fast boats were launched from the patrol vessel to stop the suspect's ship, and warning shots were fired. Finally, a sniper shot from the helicopter that had joined the OPV stopped the boat’s outboard engines. The operation ended with the arrest of the five drug smugglers on board – a “routine” procedure for a patrol ship in general, just not so soon for a recently-launched crew.

Built at the prestigious Damen shipyard, the Royal Netherlands Navy’s OPVs are truly impressive. At 354 feet (108 meters), they can fit in 90 crew members and carry 100 evacuees. Their “eyes and ears” are comprised of an innovative integrated mast module (IMM) that skillfully combines camera, radar, and communication systems in a single mast structure. This allows the ships to keep an eye on boats as well as aircraft at the same time.

Plus, the Zr. Ms. Groningen and its sister ships are eco-friendly, sporting two diesel engines and two electric motors, able to hit 20 knots (23 mph/37 kph) with increased fuel efficiency. There’s also a bioreactor on board for the treatment of wastewater.

The Dutch Royal Navy’s OPVs were delivered in 2013, and as this impressive drug bust confirms, they’re a force to be reckoned with.

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About the author: Otilia Drăgan
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Otilia believes that if it’s eco, green, or groundbreaking, people should know about it (especially if it's got wheels or wings). Working in online media for over five years, she's gained a deeper perspective on how people everywhere can inspire each other.
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