Courbet frigate
5 February 2020

The European mission is now operational in the Arabian-Persian Gulf

The European Maritime Security Initiative is now operational in the Persian Gulf. Its tactical staff is composed of Belgian, Danish, Dutch and French officers and is stationed at the French naval base in Abu Dhabi. The frigate Courbet is the first vessel to take part in the operation and will soon be joined by the frigate De Ruyter, which recently set sail from the Netherlands.

The frigate Courbet is the first ship to take part in the European maritime surveillance mission in the Strait of Hormuz (EMASoH - European Maritime Awareness in the Strait of Hormuz).

The aim of this mission is, together with our partners, to expand our capability for autonomous situation assessment, to monitor maritime activity and to guarantee freedom of navigation in the Persian Gulf and the Strait of Hormuz. The mission will be directed from the naval base in Abu Dhabi, where a European tactical staff has been established, so far composed of Belgian, Danish, Dutch and French officers.

The Dutch frigate De Ruyter sailed from the Netherlands on 28 January 2020 and will join the initiative in mid-February.

In the current context of heightened tensions, this mission is particularly relevant. European vessels will safeguard the interests of European countries in the region, enhance maritime security and thus contribute to regional de-escalation. The stakes are high: it is through this strait, which separates Oman and Iran by 40 km, that a third of oil bound for Europe by sea is transported.

A Danish frigate will be deployed as part of this mission from September 2020.

Florence Parly, Minister for the Armed Forces, has welcomed the implementation of this mission: "Today, Europe has a role to play through this operation and it is taking on that role. Our only compass will be to ease tensions in a region that needs it, while safeguarding European interests. I commend the commitment of all the sailors and soldiers, French and foreign, involved in this mission."