Denmark to Send Frigate, Helicopter to Strait of Hormuz

The Strait of Hormuz is a narrow waterway of strategic importance. It links the Gulf states with the Indian Ocean, and serves as a throughway for a third of the world’s liquefied natural gas and almost a quarter of total global oil exports.

The Danish government will send a frigate, a helicopter and a crew of 155 people to the Strait of Hormuz for four months in the autumn of 2020, Foreign Minister Jeppe Kofod and Defence Minister Trine Bramsen (both of the Social Democrat Party) said in a statement after a meeting with the Foreign Policy Committee.

“This contribution can help ensure that our ships can sail freely without running into any safety risks,” Foreign Minister Jeppe Kofod told Danish Radio.

Jeppe Kofod underscored Denmark's special interest in maritime security as the world's fifth-largest seafaring nation. According to him, the Danish contribution should be seen as a complement to other efforts in the region, such as the US-led International Maritime Security Construct (IMSC), which includes the UK and Saudi Arabia, to name several participants.

The Danish contribution will form part of a European-led maritime surveillance mission in the Strait of Hormuz, already joined by the Netherlands in late November. In addition, the contribution consists of one to two officers who will be working at the French-led headquarters in Abu Dhabi for 12 months.

Defence Minister Trine Bramsen stressed that Denmark has a capable navy that “takes responsibility” and “stands up for the principles it believes in”.

However, final approval from parliament is still needed for the naval deployment.

Earlier this year, the Strait of Hormuz saw several attacks on oil tankers. The US and some of its regional and European allies pinned them on Iran, which Tehran flatly denies, and launched a coalition headquartered in Bahrain, ostensibly to protect shipping.

Denmark made it clear that it was positively inclined to becoming part of an international coalition in order to protect international shipping as early as this summer. In 2015, the Iranian authorities seized a Maersk ship in the Strait of Hormuz over an unpaid debt that the Danish company had not been made aware of. The ship was released in less than a fortnight.

The Strait of Hormuz lies between Oman and Iran and connects numerous Gulf states, such as Iraq, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates. It is a key maritime route for the international oil trade, and has great strategic importance. A third of the world’s liquefied natural gas and almost a quarter of total global oil consumption passes through the strait, which makes it one of the world's most important choke points.