Coronavirus Covid19 St Maarten

Navy ship Karel Doorman comes to the rescue of islands.

Navy ship Karel Doorman comes to the rescue of islands. THE HAGUE – Defense sends its largest naval vessel Zr. Ms. Karel Doorman to the Caribbean part of our kingdom to help. The logistics support vessel will depart from Den Helder on Monday and will remain in the Caribbean for three months.

On board are not only navy people, but also marines, soldiers of the army and marines. Medical personnel, including a surgical team, are later flown in. Their mission is to assist Sint Maarten, Curaçao, Aruba, Bonaire, Sint Eustatius and Saba with maintaining public order, food transport, coastguard and border security, and medical support. The ship also has two Cougar transport helicopters for medical evacuations on deck.

The corona crisis has hit hard on the islands. Tourists are banned, causing revenues to drop while costs have increased. Sint Maarten has barely recovered from Hurricane Irma. The islands had asked The Hague for help.

Trauma care

The idea of sending a navy ship is that the medical facilities on board the Doorman do not so much take over the corona care of the islands, but rather other operations, such as trauma care, to which the hospitals on the islands now have less access. There are also drones for ‘image construction’. Currently, there is already a Defense patrol ship with Marines in the area.

In addition to aid, money also goes to the islands to cover the first need: 22 million euros for Aruba, 25 million for Sint Maarten and 90 million for Curaçao. They are interest-free loans without conditions.

The Karel Doorman will also act as a tanker for the naval ships that have France and the United Kingdom for their Caribbean regions nearby. The Netherlands coordinates aid in consultation with these countries from the French island of Martinique.


Before boarding the Doorman’s crew, she was quarantined for 15 days. “We are taking the measures that are needed now,” says Bijleveld. “But if the need is man, we are there.”

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