Danish Frigate Departs for Red Sea to assist US-led operation

The Danish frigate Iver Huitfeldt set sail on Monday to join the coalition protecting shipping in the Red Sea, just days after a petroleum products tanker vessel operated on behalf of Trafigura, was struck by a missile in the Gulf of Aden after transiting the Red Sea.

The Iver Huitfeldt will join U.S.-led Operation Prosperity Guardian once parliament gives final approval, Denmark’s Ministry of Defense said on Monday.

The frigate, a three-ship class of air defence frigates departed her base yesterday, January 29, bound for the Mediterranean.

It will be part of Combined Task Force 153 and will contribute to creating safe conditions for shipping in international waters, including protecting civilian ships subjected to hijacking attempts.

The frigate will have a total crew of up to approximately 175 people and include a Seahawk helicopter onboard.

The frigate will operate in the Red Sea and Gulf of Aden from early February to mid-April 2024. In addition to participating in Operation Prosperity Guardian, Denmark will provide a staff officer for a US-led offensive coalition.

The coalition is carrying out offensive actions against the Houthi movement with the aim of reducing its ability to attack shipping.

Iver Huitfeldt’s crew has just undergone Fleet Operational Sea Training (FOST) in England, a six-week training and routines assignment that aims to prepare the ship and crew to be able to solve tasks across the entire spectrum of conflict, including combat.

In addition to the frigate, Denmark also has staff officers at the Combined Maritime Forces headquarters in Bahrain, where the leadership of Combined Task Force 153 is also located. Staff officers are on hand to support the operation and international coordination.

The frigate Iver Huitfeldt has a mandate for self-defense and extended self-defense, which means that the frigate and its crew can use force to protect themselves and nearby ships from attack.

Defense Minister Troels Lund Poulsen emphasizes that it is important that Denmark supports efforts to ensure free navigation on the world’s oceans.

“The attacks in and around the Red Sea and Gulf of Aden threaten maritime security and global trade. As a major maritime nation, Denmark has a responsibility to strengthen maritime security. Therefore, the Danish Defence contributes with the frigate Iver Huitfeldt to Operation Prosperity Guardian in the Red Sea and the Gulf of Aden”.