Ukraine conflict calls frigate home

Danish frigate Esben Snare is called home from anti-piracy mission in the Gulf of Guinea due to the acute situation in Ukraine.


Danish Shipping regrets but fully understand the Danish government’s decision to withdraw Esbern Snare from the Gulf of Guinea due to the acute situation in Ukraine. A huge thank you to the crew on board, the government, and the political parties behind.

The frigate Esbern Snare must be withdrawn from its mission in the Gulf of Guinea before due time. This became clear today after the government held a meeting in the Foreign Affairs Committee and gave a briefing of the latest development of the situation between Russia and Ukraine.

The aggravated situation means that the government must reprioritize how the Danish military capabilities are to be used. Since November last year, Esbern Snare has been on a mission to the Gulf of Guinea to increase security for Danish and foreign merchant ships that have been burdened by pirate attacks. But now the frigate is withdrawn.

“We fully understand that the situation in Ukraine and Russia requires full focus and that Danish military capabilities must be able to be moved around at short notice. We regret that Esbern Snare is being withdrawn before due time, as its presence has, to put it briefly, been a huge success. But we find ourselves in a completely extraordinary foreign affairs situation and fully support the government’s decision to deploy Esbern Snare elsewhere,” says Anne H. Steffensen CEO of Danish Shipping.

While Esbern Snare has patrolled in the Gulf of Guinea, not a single Danish flagged, or Danish operated ship has been subjected to a pirate attack. Contrary to same period the previous year when three Danish operated ships were attacked by pirates.

During its mission in the Gulf of Guinea, Esbern Snare and the Frogmen Corps have been deployed several times in suspected pirate attacks on foreign merchant ships.

The crew on board Esbern Snare has shown that they are fully capable of preventing pirate attacks. The coordination between Danish ships in the area and Esbern Snare has been exemplary and preventive, and we cannot thank the deployed crew enough for their efforts. This means a great deal for the safety of the seafarers and their families’ comfort,” says Anne H. Steffensen.

Pirate attacks in the Gulf of Guinea most often occur during the months from late autumn to early spring. This is the time where the weather in the area is most calm and therefore pirates can more easily operate in their small boats far out at sea. Therefore, Danish Shipping is also pleased that the government is not opposed to resume a similar effort at a later date.

“Right now, the focus is naturally on Ukraine and Russia. I will however emphasize, that despite the criticism of the effort in the Gulf of Guinea from many sides, it has been crucial seen from our and the seafarers’ point of view. I am glad that the Minister of Defence is not opposed to resume a similar effort again. We will be very happy to discuss this,” says Anne H. Steffensen.


Danish operated ships have previously been attacked in the Gulf of Guinea

– In January 2021 “MAERSK CARDIFF” was attacked.

– In December 2020 “MAERSK CADIZ” was attacked.

– In November 2020 “TORM ALEXANDRA” was attacked.

During the time in which Esbern Snare was present (1 November 2021 – 17 February 2022), fewer kidnappings, fewer attempted piracy attacks and less suspicious behavior were recorded than in the same period the previous year*.

*Risk Intelligence

This article is shared by courtesy of Danish Shipping – a trade and employer organisation. Half of the members of the organisation own ships registered in Denmark, the other half run their activities in Denmark under other flags of state.

For more news about Danish Shipping, click here.

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