The 'Wielingen' leaves Zeebrugge for the Gulf
This morning, just before 10 o’clock, frigate F910 WIELINGEN left the port of Zeebrugge, heading
for the Persian Gulf . The atmosphere surrounding this departure was somewhat sombre – everyo-
ne was aware of the seriousness of this situation, and in particular, the fact that 15th January,
the date set by the United Nations in their ultimatum, was approaching fast. The members of the
crew, nevertheless, described the atmosphere on board as being good.
The ship, commanded by Frigate Captain ‘Gilbert De Cock’ will call first at Portland , for two days
of NBCD training in Royal Navy facilities. The crew will also undergo an intensive training course,
covering every aspect of how to halt and examine a suspicious merchant ship: stopping, boarding
and searching her.
In principle, this is to be WIELINGEN’s main task in the south of the Red Sea, after relieving the
frigate WANDELAAR at Port-Said ( Egypt ) on 19 January. But, on board the WIELINGEN, a timet-
able showed: 18 February, Muscat ( Oman ). From this, it might be deduced that the frigate will
be prepared to pass the Strait of Ormuz , heading towards the Persian Gulf.
The Naval Chief of Staff, vice-admiral Jozef De Wilde, would not give away any further details of
the mission. But it is clear that the military have considered the possibility that WIELINGEN will
be engaged in an armed conflict.

Le Soir : Belgian daily newspaper, 8 January 1991.

Close window