The European Maritime Security Initiative in the Arabian Gulf is Now Operational
(Source: French Armed Forces Ministry; issued Jan 30, 2020)
(Unofficial translation by Defense-Aerospace.com)
The Dutch Navy frigate De Ruyter sailed from The Netherlands on Jan. 28 to join the French frigate Courbet id European Maritime Surveillance Mission that Europe is deploying in the Strait of Hormuz. (Dutch Navy file photo)
The French Navy frigate FS Courbet is the first Warship to participate in the European Maritime Awareness in the Strait of Hormuz (EMASoH) mission to patrol and monitor the Strat of Hormuz. The Minister of the Armed Forces personally had the opportunity to wish the Courbet sailors a successful mission during the New Year holidays.

The objective of this mission is to strengthen, together with our partners, our capability for independent situational assessment, to monitor maritime activity, and to guarantee freedom of navigation in the Arabian-Persian Gulf and the Strait of Hormuz. It will be conducted from the Abu Dhabi naval base, where a European tactical staff has been established, composed at this stage of Belgian, Dutch, Danish and French officers.

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

In the current context of high tension, this mission will be particularly relevant as European vessels will safeguard the interests of European countries in the area, enhance maritime security, and thus contribute to regional de-escalation.

The stakes are high: it is through this strait, which separates Oman and Iran and is from 40 km wide, that a third of the oil transported to Europe transits.

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

Florence Parly welcomes the implementation of this mission: "Europe has a role to play, and today, through this operation, it is assuming it. Our only compass will be to ease tensions in a region that needs it, while preserving European interests. I salute the commitment of all the sailors and soldiers, French and foreign, involved in this mission. "

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European Maritime Awareness in the Strait of Hormuz (EMASOH)
(Source: French Embassy in Abu Dhabi; issued Jan 20, 2020)
Statement by the Governments of Belgium, Denmark, France, Germany, Greece, Italy, the Netherlands, and Portugal:

Rising insecurity and instability have been witnessed in the Gulf and the Strait of Hormuz in 2019 with multiple maritime and non-maritime incidents as a result of growing regional tensions. This situation has been affecting the freedom of navigation and the security of European and non-European vessels and crews in the area for months. It has also been jeopardizing trade and energy supplies with potential worldwide economic consequences.

Recent developments in the Middle-East are extremely worrying as they fuel tensions and increase the risk of a potential large-scale conflict with consequences in the whole region. This context calls for enhanced de-escalation initiatives to stop the ongoing trend.

Sharing the assessment that the current situation in the Gulf and the Strait of Hormuz remains unstable in a region critical to global stability, and supporting the de-escalation approach when it comes to dealing with regional security issues, the Governments of Belgium, Denmark, France, Germany, Greece, Italy, The Netherlands, And Portugal politically support the creation of a European-led maritime surveillance mission in the Strait of Hormuz (EMASOH).

We welcome any contribution in kind as already declared by Denmark, France, Greece, and The Netherlands to this effort and look forward to further commitments in the coming days.

In complementarity with existing maritime security efforts and initiatives in the region, including IMSC, EMASoH aims to ensure a safe navigation environment and to lower the existing tensions in the region.

In full accordance with international law, including the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), the mission will concretely provide enhanced maritime situation awareness and surveillance through the deployment of additional maritime surveillance assets in the Gulf and Arabian Sea. We are grateful to the UAE for offering to host the mission HQ on their territory.

EMASOH will constitute a useful instrument in safeguarding the freedom of navigation by ensuring adequate coordination and information sharing mechanisms with all partners operating in the area, including the maritime industry. Moreover, EMASOH aims to foster de-escalation and to complement vital diplomatic efforts aiming at ensuring increased stability and an inclusive regional dialogue in a critical context.

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