The BNS Leopold I will reassure the merchant shipping in the Strait of Hormuz side by side with the two French assets; the Lafayette-class frigate Guépratte, which joined the operation on February 26 and an Atlantic 2 maritime patrol aircraft.
EMASOH was launched on the 20th of January 2020. Since then, Belgian staff officers have been part of Operation AGENORs international staff in Abu Dhabi. Now BNS Leopold I is the first Belgium vessel participating in the operation.
AGENOR was launched after several commercial ships were attacked around the Strait of Hormuz. Other incidents created insecurity for sea shipping and exacerbated the already tense situation in the region.
The purpose of AGENOR is then to reduce the emergence of such incidents. In addition to the Strait of Hormuz, the operation perimeter includes the Arabian Sea, the Persian Gulf and the Gulf of Oman.
For the record, the frigate Leopold I left Den Helder on February 18 for a two-month escort mission of the Charles de Gaulle aircraft carrier as part of the French carrier strike group.
She took an Alouette III helicopter on board for a last operational deployment before the rotorcraft withdrawal. The vessel is due to return to Zeebrugge in mid-May for a short stopover before participating in an international exercise.