The Daily Herald reports that the Netherlands Royal Marine Detachment and the crew of Zr. Ms. Pelikaan last Monday and Tuesday participated in a joint training mission with the Vrijwilliger Korps Sint Maarten (VKS) (Voluntary Corps of St. Maarten).
Training was headed by the first rotational detachment of marines, who have been stationed in Pointe Blanche since March. The marines received two FRISC (Fast Raiding Interception and Special Forces Craft) vessels and have been conducting exercises to familiarise themselves with the vessels that will be used in the waters surrounding St. Maarten, Saba and St. Eustatius. During the exercises, the FRISCs were used alongside the larger Zr. Ms Pelikaan, a naval support ship that makes periodic visits to St Maarten.
The exercise consisted of marines and the VKS staying on the Pelikaan overnight and transitioning as needed to the FRISC boats for close-to-shore operations and landings.
During the joint training mission with the VKS, the Pelikaan and two FRISCs travelled to Fort Bay in Saba, where the VKS conducted a foot march in The Bottom for sightseeing and exercise. It is not known if contacts with the Saba Fire Brigade had been established to provide local knowledge.
The operation marked the third joint training between the Netherlands Royal Marines and VKS since February. Other training sessions included a radio operation lesson, and a land and terrain familiarisation during which the VKS gave the marines a vehicle tour of the various districts to familiarise them with the island.
Major Patrick Wokke, Commander of the Netherlands Royal Marines on St. Maarten, said: “All three parties involved, the Netherlands Royal Marines detachment, the crew of the Pelikaan and the VKS were all content about the level of cooperation. Cooperation such as this will absolutely happen again. It is very important for the Netherlands Royal Marines to train with partners.”