German frigate Rheinland-Pfalz (F209)

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FGS Rheinland-Pfalz (6209082582).jpg
Rheinland-Pfalz in Glasgow, 2011
Name: Rheinland-Pfalz
Builder: Blohm+Voss, Hamburg
Laid down: 25 September 1979
Launched: 3 September 1980
Commissioned: 9 May 1983
Decommissioned: 22 March 2013
Fate: Sold for scrapping in 2017
General characteristics
Class and type: Bremen-class frigate
Displacement: 3,680 tonnes (3,620 long tons)
Length: 130.50 m (428 ft 2 in)
Beam: 14.60 m (47 ft 11 in)
Draft: 6.30 m (20 ft 8 in)
Installed power:
Propulsion: 2 × propeller shafts, controllable pitch, five-bladed Sulzer-Escher propellers
Speed: 30 knots (56 km/h)
Range: more than 4,000 nmi (7,400 km) at 18 knots (33 km/h)
Complement: 202 crew plus 20 aviation
Sensors and
processing systems:
Electronic warfare
& decoys:
Aircraft carried: Place for 2 Sea Lynx Mk.88A helicopters equipped with torpedoes, air-to-surface missiles Sea Skua, and/or heavy machine gun.

Rheinland-Pfalz was a Bremen-class frigate of the German Navy.

Construction and commissioning[edit]

Rheinland-Pfalz was laid down in 1979 at the yards of Blohm+Voss, Hamburg and launched in September 1980. After undergoing trials she was commissioned on 9 May 1983.


Early deployments[edit]

Rheinland-Pfalz was involved in several foreign missions since her commissioning. From 1992 to 1996 she was deployed several times in the Adriatic Sea as part of Operation Sharp Guard, blockading the former Yugoslavia. In 1999 she supported Operation Allied Force, the NATO bombing of Yugoslavia. In 2001 she was part of a Destroyer Exercise (DESEX), followed by a deployment in 2004 with Operation Enduring Freedom – Horn of Africa, and in the Gulf of Aden. Rheinland-Pfalz took part in Operation Active Endeavour in the Mediterranean in 2005, and in 2006 joined the South African naval exercises Good Hope II. In early 2009 she was briefly once more part of Operation Active Endeavour, before departing for the waters off the Horn of Africa to participate in Operation Atalanta, combatting piracy off the coast of Somalia. She relieved her sister ship Karlsruhe on patrol on 22 January 2009.[1]

Operation Atalanta 2009[edit]

On 3 March at 7:12 local time, the 14,969 ton Antigua and Barbuda-registered container ship MV Courier, owned by a Bremen-based shipping company and manned by a Filipino crew, sent a distress message reporting the attack of pirates on board a small vessel. The assailants fired rocket propelled grenades and automatic rifles at the freighter. The emergency call was received by the Rheinland-Pfalz, which was located 50 nautical miles away. The German warship dispatched her Westland Lynx helicopter to the scene, which fired warning shots at the hostile launch. The Sea Lynx was joined by a Sikorsky SH-60 Seahawk from the US guided-missile cruiser USS Monterey.[2] A couple of hours later, the pirate skiff was intercepted by the German frigate and seized by German marines, who captured nine suspects.[2] The German boarding party found a cache of one rocket launcher, three AK-47 rifles, a Tokarev pistol, a carbine and an automatic rifle.[3] This was the first time that the German Navy seized a hostile vessel and her crew at sea since the Second World War.[4]

Early in the morning of 30 March 2009, a group of Somali pirates approached the German naval replenishment tanker Spessart, opened fire upon her and attempted to board the vessel. The attack was averted by the on-board security detachment, who opened fire on the pirates. A chase then ensued, ending with the pirates being stopped and detained by the Rheinland-Pfalz.[5] On 3 August 2009 the captured merchant vessel MV Hansa Stavanger was released from pirate control, with Rheinland-Pfalz and the frigate Brandenburg escorting her into port in Mombasa, Kenya.[6]

Later service[edit]

Rheinland-Pfalz took part in exercises and manoeuvrers in 2011, and in February that year sailed to the Libyan coast to assist in the evacuation of German citizens caught up in the Libyan Civil War.[7] On 5 March 2011 Rheinland-Pfalz entered the Tunisian port of Gabès, along with the Brandenburg and the replenishment ship Berlin, embarking several hundred Egyptian refugees and transporting them to Alexandria.[8]

On 1 February 2012 Rheinland-Pfalz left her homeport to join Standing NATO Maritime Group 1 in the Mediterranean. This would be her last international deployment.[9] On 11 September 2012 Rheinland-Pfalz was removed from active duty, and was officially decommissioned on 22 March 2013, the second ship of the Bremen class to leave service.[10][11] In April 2017 Rheinland-Pfalz was auctioned off via the state-owned Vebeg GmbH for scrapping.[12] In December 2017, the ship arrived at Aliağa for scrapping. A successor ship, a Baden-Württemberg-class frigate, was christened Rheinland-Pfalz on 24 May 2017 by Malu Dreyer, minister-president of Rhineland-Palatinate.[13]


  1. ^ "Piratenjagd im Golf von Aden: - Fregatte Rheinland-Pfalz F 209". Retrieved 3 July 2016.
  2. ^ a b Germany, SPIEGEL ONLINE, Hamburg. "First Arrests: German Navy Detains 9 Pirate Suspects". Retrieved 3 July 2016.
  3. ^ Germany, SPIEGEL ONLINE, Hamburg. "Kampf gegen Piraten: Kenias Justiz kritisiert Bundeswehr". Retrieved 3 July 2016.
  4. ^ (, Deutsche Welle. "German Marines Foil Pirate Attack on Bremen-Based Ship Off Somalia - Germany - DW.COM - 04.03.2009". Retrieved 3 July 2016.
  5. ^ "Strafanzeige in Kiel gegen Piraten" (in German). 31 March 2009. Retrieved 18 November 2009.
  6. ^ "EU NAVFOR ship BRANDENBURG leads HANSA STAVANGER safely into Mombasa". EU NAVFOR Public Affairs Office. 18 August 2010. Archived from the original on 4 November 2010. Retrieved 13 January 2011.
  7. ^ "EU schließt Militäreinsatz nicht aus". (in German). 24 February 2011. Retrieved 2 June 2017.
  8. ^ "Bundeswehr beginnt hunderte Flüchtlinge in Nordafrika zu evakuieren" (in German). BMVg Presse- und Informationsstab. 5 March 2011. Retrieved 7 May 2014.
  9. ^ Presse- und Informationszentrum Marine (1 February 2012). "Fregatte RHEINLAND-PFALZ stößt zu NATO-Verband". Einsätze und Manöver (in German). Bundeswehr (Marine). Retrieved 28 November 2014.
  10. ^ Michael Halama (27 August 2012). "Abschied vom „schönsten Schiff der Flotte" naht". NWZ online (in German). Retrieved 28 November 2014.
  11. ^ "F 209 FGS Rheinland-Pfalz". Retrieved 15 May 2018.
  12. ^ "Fregatte Klasse 122/03 "ex Rheinland-Pfalz"" (PDF) (in German). 9 May 2018. Retrieved 15 May 2018.
  13. ^ "„Rheinland-Pfalz" bei Blohm + Voss getauft". NDR. 24 May 2017. Retrieved 25 May 2017.