Home Africa Dutch frogmen recognized for pirate mother-ship sabotage mission in shark-infested waters

Dutch frogmen recognized for pirate mother-ship sabotage mission in shark-infested waters

Dutch defense ministry photo shows the operators aboard the now-decommissioned navy oiler HNLMS Zuiderkruis in the autumn of 2011 ahead of their counter-piracy mission.

Four special operators from the Royal Netherlands Marine Corps’ elite frogmen assigned to the Task Force Barracuda were awarded Crosses of Merit for their involvement in a highly-classified mission that took place in 2011.

As they received their medals, the Netherlands defense ministry revealed what the operators did to deserve the fourth-highest military decoration in the country.

A frogman poses with explosives in a laundry net ahead of the mission.

Back in 2011, the team was tasked with disabling two pirate mother ships in shark-infested waters off the coast of Somalia. The ships were successfully disabled in two separate missions, both under the cover of the night and in heavy swells.

Not all well as smoothly as originally planned, according to details shared by the defense ministry. It took the operators several attempts to place explosives on the hull of one of the ships until they devised a suitable solution.

What is more, one of the frogmen was electrocuted by a teammate’s shark deterrent during one of the missions.

The Netherlands Maritime Special Operations Forces (NLMARSOF) of the Marine Corps was tasked with the mission in Somalia after previously concluding a deployment to Afghanistan.

“The sabotage of pirate motherships has marked a turning point in the fight against piracy. Every member of this unit can rightly be proud of that. The international interest of sister units that you received afterwards is a sign of that,” defense minister Ank-Bijleveld-Schouten said at the medals award ceremony.

One of the disabled pirate ships rolls in the waves following a successful sabotage mission. Photo: Dutch defense ministry