HDMS Absalon (L16)
Absalon in 2013
|Laid down:||November 2003|
|Launched:||30 January 2005|
|Status:||in active service|
|Class and type:||Absalon-class support ship|
|Length:||137.6 m (451 ft 5 in)|
|Beam:||19.5 m (64 ft 0 in)|
|Draft:||6.3 m (20 ft 8 in)|
|Speed:||24 knots (44 km/h)|
|Range:||9,000 nmi (17,000 km) at 15 kn (28 km/h)|
|Boats & landing
|Aircraft carried:||2 × EH-101 or 2 × Westland Lynx|
|Aviation facilities:||Aft helicopter deck and hangars|
HDMS Absalon (L16) and her sister ship Esbern Snare are the two biggest ships ever to serve in the Royal Danish Navy (RDN), and are the two members of the Absalon class. The two ships in the Absalon class, named after Danish archbishop and statesman Absalon, received full operational status in 2007.
The ships are the first in a series of RDN vessels tasked with carrying out new types of missions, and are to form the backbone of the international operations that the RDN is increasingly focusing on.
The Absalon-class ships are primarily designed for command and support roles, with a large ro-ro deck, while the following three frigates of the Iver Huitfeldt class will be equipped for a combat role and potentially equipped with Tomahawk cruise missiles, a first for the Danish Navy. Although similar to the Absalon-class vessels, the frigates will not have a large ro-ro deck. the frigates received full operational status in 2010 and 2011, replacing the Niels Juel-class corvettes.
Somali counter-piracy mission
Starting in 2008, HDMS Absalon participated in the UN-led counter-piracy mission off Somalia and the east coast of Africa, acting as flagship to the Danish Task Group which led Task Force 150. In September 2008, as part of the task force, Absalon was involved in the capture of 10 pirates, who were eventually set free. On 3 December 2008, after the mandate had been extended, Absalon rescued a disabled skiff with suspected pirates aboard in the Gulf of Aden, 90 miles off the coast of Yemen; the Somali craft was reported to hold rocket-propelled grenades and AK-47 assault rifles, and to have been adrift for several days. Absalon took the sailors and weapons aboard, sank the craft, and turned the sailors over to the Yemeni Coast Guard. Absalon was reportedly the most successful counter-piracy warship in the Gulf of Aden, capturing 88 out of the 250 pirates detained.
On 16 March 2009, Absalon, along with the Turkish frigate TCG Giresun, successfully prevented pirates from capturing the Vietnamese cargo ship MV Diamond Falcon. Absalon's counter-piracy mission with NATO Task Force 150 in Somali waters ended 1 April 2009, after resulting in the capture of over 80 pirates, some of whom were transferred to the Netherlands for trial.
On 5 February 2010, Absalon helped to rescue the crew of the Antigua and Barbuda-flagged merchant vessel Ariella, which was being hijacked by six armed pirates. Absalon dispatched a helicopter and a special forces team, deterring the pirates. On 1 March 2010, Absalon was reported to have sunk a Somali pirate mother ship carrying several pirate speedboats in the Indian Ocean.
On 7 January 2012, Absalon intercepted and boarded a Somali pirate mother ship in the Indian Ocean. The boarding crew freed 14 Iranian and Pakistani fishermen who had been held as hostages for over two months.
On 30 November 2015, Minister of Defence Peter Christensen, announced that Absalon was to be moved to the Mediterranean Sea, in order to accommodate Turkey's request to NATO, for a larger military presence in the area.
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