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HMNLS Karel Doorman Joint Support Ship (JSS)

The Karel Doorman Joint Support Ship fulfills the operational requirements of the Royal Netherlands Navy for a robust multifunctional platform. It is especially designed for maritime support, strategic sealift and sea basing missions. It has flexible mission modules to support worldwide maritime operations. The main mission of the JSS will be strategic transport, Replenishment at Sea of other ships and sea basing.

HNLMS Karel Doorman has been designed for the Royal Netherlands Navy to operate both in lower and higher levels of the force spectrum. The main mission of the JLSS will be strategic transport, Replenishment at Sea and sea basing. The vessel accommodates 175 crew members and up to 125 opstappers, such as helicopter crew medical teams and several platoons. For the support of operations a fully equipped role three hospital is installed. The JLSS has 2000 lane meters for transport of materiel, has a helicopter deck with landing spots for operating two Chinooks, and a hangar with a storage capacity of up to six helicopters.

The JLSS has the facilities for loading and unloading materiel and goods in harbors, near the shore or at open sea using two Replenishment At Sea masts, a deck crane, a roll on/roll off facility for vehicles and a steel beach stern construction for accommodating cargo transfer via landing craft.

HMNLS Karel Doorman - Program

The Karel Doorman is named after Karel Doorman (1889-1942) who died during the Battle of the Java Sea during the Second World War. Doorman had command of ABDACOM's Combined Striking Force with American, British, Dutch and Australian naval ships. Despite giving his fleet little chance against the Japanese force, he had to fight. With the flagship cruiser Hr.Ms. The Ruyter went down. The JSS is the fourth ship named Karel Doorman. Earlier this name was given to the first Dutch airship ship from 1946, to the second airship ship from 1948 and to thefirst M-frigate from 1991.

Originally the navy wanted Hr.Ms. Zuiderkruis (1975) replaced by a comparable supply ship around the year 2000. However, cuts in 1993 caused postponement to 2002. In 1995, the need for the replacement of Hr.Ms. Zuiderkruis approved. The Second Chamber was then informed by letter in March 1995 about the project. Due to cuts, 2002 was not achieved and the project was delayed.

In 2003, Hans van Baalen (VVD) served a motion, which was commissioned to investigate whether the new ship could become a "joint deployable ship carrier helicopter carrier". In 2004, the Royal Navy carried out the study "Large Area Ships KM". One of the questions was whether, in addition to maritime supply capacity, the substitute of the Southern Cross should also have facilities for helicopter operations and logistical support of units on land. The navy concluded that these extras would add some, but that needed more investment. It was decided not to opt for additional capacities.

Discussions on the defense budget in the Lower House led to an assignment from the then Minister of Defense Henk Kamp to conduct a new comprehensive investigation into the composition of the total navy. This was the Navy Study 2005. One of the questions again concerned the replacement of Hr.Ms. Southern Cross by a defensive-wide support ship, instead of a true supplier. In the Marine Studies 2005, the growing importance of support for land operations from the sea was recognized. The authors concluded that not many merchant ships would meet the requirements and would not be suitable for use in war situations.

On December 18, 2009, the contract for the construction of the JSS was signed. The ship was built by Damen Schelde Naval Shipbuilding. Most of the construction took place in Romania and a small part in Vlissingen.

On 7 June 2011, at the Damen yard in Galatz, the keel was laid down for the Joint Support Ship (JSS). The ceremony was performed by Rear Admiral K. Visser of the Royal Netherlands Navy. Further construction of the vessel will largely take place at Damen Shipyard Galatz, supervised by Damen Schelde Naval Shipbuilding (DSNS) whereas the, final systems outfitting, commissioning and testing of the vessel and all of her systems will take place at DSNS in Vlissingen.

The Joint Support Ship was launched in October 2012, handed over to the Royal Netherlands Navy in 2014, and commissioned into the Royal Netherlands Navy in April 2015. The 27,800 ton vessel was expected to be fully operational in 2015. The new logistic support ship 'Karel Doorman', also called a Joint Support Ship (JSS), replaced the supply ship 'Hr. Ms. Zuiderkruis' which dated from 1975.

Even before the Joint Support Ship arrived in the Netherlands for the demolition, it was rumored that the Karel Doorman would be sold. The navy had to cut back again. On September 17, 2013, the Minister of Defense Hennis, "In the interests of the Netherlands" memorandum, stated that, after completion, the JSS had to be sold immediately.

In July 2015 it became known that the Dutch and German marines wanted to work intensively. The newly established Seebataillon would then join the Dutch navy and Germany could then use the Doorman. In January 2016, these messages were reaffirmed, but again without details about cooperation. On February 4, 2016, the intent of intensive cooperation was signed the Ministers of Defense of both countries.

HNLMS Karel Doorman transported emergency aid goods to West Africa in the fight against the Ebola outbreak. The Royal Netherlands Navy vessel will departed on 06 November 2014. Minister of Defence, Jeanine Hennis-Plasschaert, stated There is a big demand for the transport of aid goods. The Karel Doorman is eminently suited to the task. In total, HNLMS Karel Doorman transported over 100 vehicles and 50 containers holding aid goods, originating from EU member states and international aid organisations. Among the aid goods were protective clothing, mobile clinics and various means of transport. Prior to transport, a thorough assessment was made of the goods that were actually required in the area of the Ebola outbreak.

HNLMS Karel Doorman, the joint logistic support ship of the Royal Netherlands Navy, has completed the delivery of 1.5 million kilogrammes of food, packed in 354 pallets and 148 containers, as well as 263 vehicles during two trips to the Ebola-affected area in West Africa. The final pallet was unloaded in the port of the Liberian capital city of Monrovia 02 January 2015.

One of the two main engines of HNLMS Karel Doorman, was seriously damaged 10 March 2016 while the amphibious operation support ship was at sea. Due to the complexity of repairs, the Dutch ministry of defense estimated that the repairs would take around eight months to be completed. The Netherlands department of defense said it would seek to recover the reparation costs through a guarantee that was set out in the contract with the Dutch shipbuilder Damen.

HNLMS Karel Doorman returned to sea in April 2017 after completing almost a year repairs at the Den Helder base. The ships engine issues caused a pause in the maritime collaboration between Germany and the Netherlands whose defense ministers in February 2016 signed a Letter of Intent (LOI) which allowed the German Navy to use the HLNMS Karel Doorman for operations. The German Navy needed a ship like Karel Doorman as it does not have significant amphibious capabilities on its own. Another aspect of the maritime cooperation is the integration of the Seebataillon (marines) of the German navy in the Dutch Royal Navy.

On 13 September 2017 the Netherlands sent the Joint Logistic Support Ship HNLMS Karel Doorman to the Caribbean to provide support following Hurricane Irma. The ship was primarily used to transport equipment and aid supplies by sea. The Karel Doorman cut short its involvement in the international Northern Coasts exercise and was en route to the Dutch naval port of Den Helder. The supplies the ship is carrying in connection with the exercise will be unloaded and aid supplies taken on board. The Karel Doorman was expected to depart for the Caribbean on 20 September 2017 and arrive there approximately two weeks later.

The vessel carryied an assorted cargo: school furniture and 3 pavilion tents for 36 classes, 10 mobile phone masts, 18 police cars, 12 tipper trucks, 8 water tank trucks, 2 mobile command units, and groceries and toilet paper, as well as bulldozers, diggers and other heavy equipment to clean up the rubble. The cargo list was compiled by the Ministry of the Interior and Kingdom Relations in consultation with other ministries, with a view to starting reconstruction on the islands. The ship also carryied goods collected by ad hoc citizen initiatives.

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