|Two ships were ordered from the Odense Steel Shipyard and were given the names, Absalon L16 and Esbern Snare L17. The names are for two
Danish brothers who fought for the Danish throne in the 12th Century. Absalon, also known as Axel, was born in 1128 as one of the powerful Hvide
clan. His family controlled a large amount of land, including the present day Copenhagen. He became Bishop of Roskilde and later Archbishop of Lund
until his death on March 21, 1201. Both he and his brother were among the strongest supporters of Prince Vlademar, who after a civil war in which
Absalon and Esbern Snare fought for the prince, became King Vlademar I of Denmark. During the civil war Danish coastal territories had been the
target of Wendish pirates based in Pomerania. Absalon was the prime mover in starting the Wendish Crusade to eliminate this threat. Absalon built a
guardian fleet and led the first naval/amphibian campaign against the Wends that evolved into a 20 year crusade to reduce their power and convert them
to Christianity. It is very appropriate that the name ship of the new class should be named after the great archbishop.
These two ships are the largest vessels ever constructed for the Danish Navy. Absalon was laid down November 2003, launched January 30, 2005 and
commissioned in 2007. However, lengthy trials followed and Absalon was not operational until 2008. On her first mission HDMS Absalon was
assigned duties entirely in keeping with her name. Absalon was assigned as part of a UN force charged with an anti-piracy mission off of Somalia.
Absalon was the flagship of the Danish Task Group led Task Group 150. In September 2008 the ship participated in the capture on ten Somali pirates.
On December 3, 2008 Absalon encountered a disabled boat suspected of piracy 90 miles off the coast of Yemen. The craft was carrying Kalishnikov
AK assault guns and Rocket Propelled Grenades (RPG)s, gear not normally associated with fishermen. The crew was arrested and turned over to the
Yemeni government, while the craft was scuttled. On March 19, 2009 pirates attempted to capture the Vietnamese cargo ship MV Diamond Falcon.
Absalon, accompanied by TCG Giresun, prevented the capture. During her tour in the Gulf of Aden, Absalon captured 88 of the 250 pirates captured,
making her the most successful anti-piracy ship in the force. Her first anti-piracy cruise ended April 1, 2009 but Absalon was deployed again the next
year. On February 10, 2010 Absalon was back and sortied her helicopter and special forces team to break up an attempted piracy of Ariella, an
Antigua and Barbados flagged cargo ship. Next month on March 1, 2010 Absalon sank a pirate mother ship, which was being used to send out satellite
pirate speedboats in the Indian Ocean. Absalon bagged another pirate mother ship on January 7, 2012 and freed 14 Iranian and Pakistani fishermen.