Cuts limit protection of merchant navy

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Massive cuts to the defence budget will make it increasingly difficult for the Dutch navy to protect the merchant fleet against piracy.

In an interview on a current affairs programme on Wednesday Defence Minister Hans Hillen said, “Every time a ship is mothballed, means it cannot be at the scene when next it is needed. It is that simple. There will be moments when we won’t be there.”

Mr Hillen emphasised that international cooperation would enable the Netherlands to perform its duties. “We can protect merchant shipping to the extent that we can and that our budget allows. And that budget keeps shrinking.”

© Radio Netherlands Worldwide

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