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guardian-ship

HNLMS Abraham Crijnssen

HNLMS Abraham Crijnssen was a Royal Netherlands Navy minesweeper of the Jan van Amstelclass, famous for its escape from Surabaya, Java in 1942, disguised as a tropical island.

She was the third of eight Jan van Amstel class minesweepers, built at Gusto in Schiedam, and named after the 17th century naval commander Abraham Crijnssen.

The ship was stationed in the Dutch East Indies when Japan invaded in 1941. After the Allied fleet was destroyed in the Battle of the Java Sea in February 1942, Abraham Crijnssen was ordered to escape to Australia. The crew covered her thickly with tree branches, so that to observers she looked like one of the many small jungle islets of the area, and she was able to pass by the Japanese Navy undetected.

On 26 August 1942, she was transferred to the Royal Australian Navy (RAN), commissioned as HMAS Abraham Crijnssen and served with the RAN until 5 May 1943.

After the war, she cleared many minefields in the East Indies, then returned to the Netherlands and became a net-guardian ship. Decommissioned in 1961, she was then operated by the Dutch Naval Cadet Corps (Zeekadetkorps Nederland), in 1995 was designated for preservation, and opened for visitors in July 1997 at the Dutch Naval Museum at Den Helder.

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