Hurry up and protect our ships off Somalia

24th June 2011, Comments 0 comments

The government is doing too little to protect Dutch cargo ships against piracy off the coast of Somalia, parliamentary MPs say. Both the governing free-market Conservative Party VVD and the Labour Party PvdA are frustrated about the slow progress made in gathering information about the costs and conditions of using marines for security purposes in the Indian Ocean.

Recently, there was an experiment in which military personnel were deployed on board three cargo vessels needing additional security. The pilot was considered a success and a framework was established for a working agreement.

The move has support from MPs from the VVD, the Freedom Party, the Christian Union and the Christian Democrats. However, PvdA, Green Left and the Democrats first want more information before taking a stance. The Socialists are against the deployment of naval officers, saying it will only inflame the violence.

Minister pledges support for cargo ships During a debate in parliament on Thursday, VVD MP Han ten Broeke pushed for more concrete action, calling on the cabinet to intensify negotiation efforts between the armed forces and the shipping companies.

Defence Minister Hans Hillen said that the costs were still a stumbling block and that the shipping companies would have to contribute towards the costs, but promised to have an action plan in place by 1 August.

Denmark sends out alarm message Denmark also called on Thursday for more international support for efforts it is leading against Somali pirates in the Indian Ocean, amid warnings of a rise in attacks on shipping.

Denmark is currently chair of the Contact Group on Piracy off the Coast of Somalia, bringing together more than 55 states and organisations. The group met in Copenhagen this week for the eighth time.

The United Nations Security Council was warned Tuesday that pirates are attacking growing numbers of ships in the Indian Ocean. Since 1 January, there have been at least 171 attacks off the coast of Somalia and at the end of May the pirates held 26 vessels and more than 600 hostages.

© Radio Netherlands Worldwide



© Radio Netherlands Worldwide

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