The second naval unit to visit the Maltese Islands during 2021 was the Karel Doorman Class Frigate F 930 LEOPOLD I of the Marine Component of the Belgian Armed Forces. She was here on Thursday 6th May coming from Abu Dhabi passing breakwaters at 1014 hrs.
Prior to 29th March 2007, the ship was known as HNLMS KAREL DOORMAN F 827. She is one of the two frigates of this class purchased from the Royal Netherlands Navy on 22nd December 2005.
On 20th July 2005, the Belgian government decided to buy two of the remaining six Dutch M-class frigates to replace the two remaining frigates of the Wielingen class (BNS WIELINGEN F 910 and BNS WESTDIEP F 911). On 22nd December 2005, KAREL DOORMAN and WILLEM VAN DER ZAAN were sold to Belgium. KAREL DOORMAN was taken out of service in 2006 and turned over to the Belgian Marine Component on 29th March 2007 where she was christened as LEOPOLD I in honour of the first King of the Belgians, by Queen Fabiola of Belgium at Zeebrugge Marine Base.
Upon entering she was assisted by 2 local tugs and berthed port side alongside Pinto 4 and 5 wharves part of Valletta Cruise Port. Few minutes later uplifting bunkers via road trucks commenced. At 1819 hrs she left Grand Harbour bound to Amsterdam, The Netherlands.
Interesting helicopter that was seen embarked was the SA316B Alouette III (Lark) serial M-1, construction number 1812.
This was her third time to be in territorial waters since she’s been in naval service. First one was from 5th to 9th June, 2009.
Then she called off Grand Harbour on her way to EU Naval Force Deployment for counter piracy operations together with Royal Netherlands Navy Karel Doorman Class frigate HNLMS VAN SPEIJK F 828 and the replenishment oiler HNLMS AMSTERDAM A 836.
Watermarked Photos are by Capt. Lawrence Dalli. NO PHOTOS can be used or manipulated without our permission. © All rights reserved. Malta Ship Photos & Action Photos – www.maltashipphotos.com
Published – Thursday 13th May, 2021.