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A look at the Defence news 14 – 20 November

Three Dutch war graves have either entirely or partially disappeared from the seabed off the coast of Indonesia. The cause of their disappearance is unknown. The war graves were vessels that were lost during the Battle of the Java Sea on 27 February 1942.

HNLMS De Ruyter

HNLMS De Ruyter (collection NIMH).

During this battle, over 900 Dutch and over 250 Indonesian-Dutch servicemen died at sea. Among them was Rear Admiral Karel Doorman. Amateur divers came across the vessels in 2002. The wrecks of HNLMS De Ruyter and HNLMS Java now seem to have entirely disappeared, while a substantial part of HNLMS Kortenaer has also vanished. An investigation will now be carried out to determine what happened to the ships.

Libyan students back on HNLMS Rotterdam

Extinguishing fires, transporting the injured, boarding other ships and learning English. On 15 November, 38 Libyan coastguard and navy students started the second part of their training programme on board HNLMS Rotterdam. The ship is part of EU Operation Sophia, currently taking place in the Mediterranean Sea. This mission has been combating people smuggling since 2015.

King visits Navy vessel in Aegean Sea

King Willem Alexander of the Netherlands paid a two-day working visit to the HNLMS De Ruyter. The Royal Netherlands Navy frigate has spent the past three months charting people smuggling activity in the Aegean Sea. During the working visit, the King was updated on the ship’s deployment and Navy personnel were given the opportunity to share their experiences with him. A demonstration was given of the ship’s ability to spot small vessels and the follow-up actions it then carries out.

Thousands of Kurdish fighters ready for action

Over the past two years, Dutch military personnel, together with coalition partners, has contributed to the  training and instruction of over 4,500 Kurdish Peshmerga fighters. The training programmes focused on skills such as marksmanship, tactical operations, military first aid and counter-IED, among other things, and leaves them better equipped for their fight against the terrorist organisation ISIS. The Netherlands currently provides roughly 150 trainers from the Royal Netherlands Army and the Netherlands Marine Corps for the Capacity Building Mission Iraq (CBMI).