During the first weekend of September 2015 hosted the World Harbour Days. Every year hundredthousands of people take the chance to get a glimps behind the scenes of Europe’s largest port. The visitors can pay a visit to several ships, admire demonstrations on the water and watch presentations from the many companies that use the Port of Rotterdam. The main stage is next to the Erasmusbridge.
One of the demonstrations was hosted by the Royal Netherlands Navy. In this display, a vessel was attacked by “pirates” in small motorboats. Once the ship was captured, they hoisted their piratesflag in the mast.
In order to recapture the ship, the Royal Netherlands Navy came into action. First a FRISC with 6 marines aboard was deployed to capture the ship again. At the same moment a NH-90 from the Defence Helicopter Command (DHC) entered the scene and dropped marines, via the fast-roping technique, right onto the deck of the pirated vessel. The ship was consequently liberated.
At this point the demonstration was cut short. The reason was that a body was seen in the river, close to the display area. Next to police, fire brigade and ambulance services, all available boats from the display as well as the NH-90 moved to the scene to assist in the search operation. Shortly after, the remains of a person were recovered in the waters near the Koninginnebrug. More information (in Dutch) can be found HERE.
After the first of many rain showers, a rescue operation was displayed. In this scenario a fire had started aboard a tanker vessel, causing injuries to the crew. This meant that assistance was needed to extinghuish the fire and to evacuate the wounded. First on the scene was the KNRM Jeanine Parqui lifeboat, normally based in Hoek van Holland. This lifeboat was followed by one of the Port Authority’s tugs, which used its massive watercanons to stop the fire. Finally a Noordzee Helikopters Vlaanderen (NHV) SA.365 Dauphin helicopter arrived to rescue the people from the burning tanker. NHV performs Pilot and SAR duties on behalf of the Dutch government from their heliport in the Pistoolhaven on the Maasvlakte.