HNLMS Holland returned to Den Helder from the Mediterranean February 7th. The patrol ship left for the eastern part of the Mediterranean in mid-November for Operation Mistral. This is due to the turbulent situation in the Middle East. The crew was ready to provide support in the event of evacuations from Gaza.

Shortly after departure , a so-called Non-combatant Evacuation Operation (NEO) was held in Plymouth , British . The crew trained in a simulated evacuation under supervision. Once that was over, the ship could set sail for Cyprus.

There it was important for the crew to work on the integration of a Marine unit that was on board. This also applied to the embarked NH90 maritime combat helicopter of the Defense Helicopter Command. The aim was to optimally prepare to operate in a deteriorated security situation.

In Cyprus, the marines set up an evacuation center and the entire team practiced receiving evacuees, both on land and on ship. These amphibious movements occurred under different simulated threat levels. Numerous exercises have also been held at sea with various NATO partners in the region. This laid the foundation for smooth mutual communication and coordination, should the need arise. It didn’t get that far, but the experiences gained are always useful.

Although the ship is now back, the Netherlands continues to monitor the situation in the Middle East. For example, the Netherlands keeps a joint task force with 2 C-130 Hercules transport aircraft and the Marine Spearhead Task Unit (MSTU) of the Marine Corps ready to take rapid action in the event of an evacuation.