San José, Costa Rica, since 1956

Dutch Ship Supports Anti-Drug Efforts

LIMON – The HNLMS Amsterdam, Holland’s fast combat support ship, docked at this Caribbean port city on Monday in a show of Tico-Dutch allegiance against drug trafficking.

The Amsterdam, having embarked on its West Indian Guardship mission to patrol and protect the Dutch kingdom’s six islands in the Caribbean, spent four days here.

As required by law, permission was granted by the Costa Rican Legislative Assembly 24 hours prior to the ship’s arrival, after successful negotiations between the Dutch embassy and the Costa Rican government.

Commander G.H. Nijenhuis welcomed aboard the Dutch ambassador to Costa Rica, Matthias van Bonzel, who said, “Amsterdam is here to reinforce cooperation in the war on drugs, as well as promote tourism and reinforce our good relations with Costa Rica.

“We have a responsibility not only under the Treaty of Geneva to take action against drug trafficking, but also because the Netherlands Antilles and Aruba are part of our kingdom within the Caribbean and act as transit ports for traffickers. Rotterdam, our port in the Netherlands, is also the gateway port for European distribution of cocaine, so we must do our best to solve this problem.”

The 166-meter-long ship had just returned from Panama where it was involved in a joint multi-national exercise defending the Panama Canal against maritime terrorist threats.

More than 22 countries and 33 ships participated in what is believed to be the world’s largest-ever maritime exercise.

As well as work in counter-drug operations, the Amsterdam will perform coast guard duties and be on standby for hurricane relief operations.

Commander Nijenhuis said, “We are getting a grip on the problem with drug trafficking and working very hard to make sure we maintain this grip, while also carrying out our other duties at sea.”

Commissioned in 1995 and with a crew of 150, the ship is designed to simultaneously transfer fuel and supplies, such as food, ammunition, personnel and spare parts.

The Amsterdam will return to Holland on Dec. 16, after completing its six-month tour of duty.


HNLMS Amsterdam













2 x diesel V16

Max speed:


22 kts

Fuel reserve:


7,700 tons

(enough to circumnavigate the world twice)


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