In recent years the HNLMS Groningen has been part of a NATO campaign to combat drug smuggling in the Caribbean and an anti piracy campaign off the coast of Somalia.
During her Ambassadorial visit to the UK, the HNLMS Groningen sails up the River Orwell to ABP’s Port of Ipswich. One of Harwich Haven’s experienced pilots board the Groningen at the Cork Station for the inward journey. Just in front of them, the dredger Charlemagne was also boarding a pilot for Ipswich. Charlemagne was vessel number one and the HNLMS Groningen was vessel number two. Both with pilots onboard, they pick up some knots into the harbour before reducing for harbour and river speed limits.
Before she arrived in British waters, two Gray tugs were ordered for her arrival but that was reduced to just one soon after the pilot boarded. The pilot said that the Gray Salvor can meet them somewhere up the River near Woolverstone.
Appearing through the haze, the Chalemagne came in to sight with the Groningen about 5-10 minutes later. Gray Salvor heads down the river to meet the multi-million Euro patrol vessel. The pilot radios the Salvor to confirm he just want them on standby just incase something didn’t look right.
With the Charlemagne swinging up by Ro-Ro1, the pilot onboard the Groningen said he will swing off Ro-Ro2 to keep clear of each other.
Proceeding under the Orwell Bridge with the Gray Salvor following near the port quarter, the Armamenton the front section became more visible. The 76 mm Oto Melara Super Rapid sitting proud on bow with a 30 mm Oto Melara Marlin WS sitting just a bit further back.