A white off-shore patrol vessel of the Royal Netherlands Navy moored at a pier with a cruise ship in the background

News Shipspotting / Waterfront

Dutch, Canadian NATO Allies Make NYC Port Calls

Visits by naval vessels to New York aren’t what they once were, but they do still happen, and we try to spot them whenever we can. On April 14, we stopped by Manhattan’s Pier 88 to check out a pair of foreign naval vessels that had docked for port calls.

HNLMS Zeeland arrived the day before en route from the Caribbean back to the Netherlands. The sleek-looking vessel was built in 2010, the first of four Holland–class offshore patrol vessels. This classification is a bit of a misnomer; weighing in at over 3,500 tons, the ship is five-to-ten times larger than typical offshore vessels (for comparison, the US Navy’s Cyclones displace only 330 tons). Based on their size, they could rightly be called frigates, and the Hollands were in fact designed to replace the country’s Karel Doorman-class frigates. The ship boasts an impressive range of 5,000 miles, giving it the ability to operate almost anywhere in the world, but Zeeland is lightly armed, carrying a 76mm main gun, comparable to what you would find on a large US Coast Guard cutter.

And this ship primarily plays a Coast Guard-type role. The Dutch builder of this ship, Damen Group, has developed a number of designs for coastal patrol boats that serve around the world, including the Sentinel-class Fast Response Cutter for the US Coast Guard, which has ordered 58 to be built under license by Louisiana-based Bollinger Shipyards.

Zeeland arrived in New York after a five-month deployment to the Caribbean, conducting drug and immigration patrols from its base at the Dutch territory of Curaçao. The highlight of their tour was probably in late January, when they intercepted more than 2,000 kilos of cocaine, an operation conducted jointly with the US Coast Guard.

Docked stern-to-stern with Zeeland was Canada’s HMCS Fredericton, a true frigate. Based in Halifax, Nova Scotia, the ship has heavy armament for anti-submarine, anti-ship, and anti-air capabilities. Considering that Canada isn’t sinking a lot of enemy ships these days, the vessel has also taken on a law enforcement role, patrolling coastal waters and conducting anti-piracy and immigration operations around the world.

Fredericton was visiting New York for a few days of R-and-R after completing their Basic Single Ship Readiness Training. This 10-day program involved putting the ship and the crew through many of their operational evolutions, including weapons testing, at-sea replenishment, flight operations, and firefighting. Below you can see that they were grateful to be in New York after a grueling trials, and grateful to have some hospitable NATO allies as neighbors.

If you want to learn more about the military ships that visit New York Harbor, check out our guide to Fleet Week New York 2019, and join us for a special harbor cruise on Memorial Day (May 27).