Dutch MPs Urged to Approve Armed Guards onboard Ships

UK-based global trade union Nautilus International has joined the Royal Association of Dutch Shipowners and 14 other organisations from the maritime cluster to urge Dutch MPs to give the long-awaited go-ahead to the carriage of private armed guards on Dutch-flagged ships.

In an open letter to the Parliament, the organisations warn that the continuing failure to allow private security teams is undermining the competitiveness of the Dutch flag and exposing seafarers to an increased risk of pirates attacks.

The organisations expressed concern about the slow progress on the policy proposals to permit Dutch-registered vessels to carry private armed guards under strict conditions.

The letter warns that the threat of piracy has not disappeared and that ships without protection face significantly higher insurance costs. Some ships are flagging out as a result, it adds.

Although Dutch ships can carry Dutch military teams to protect against attack, the organisations warn that the arrangements are not suitable for all ships — particularly smaller vessels.

Calling for the Dutch Parliament to ensure that the policy proposals are put in place with effect from 1 January 2017, the letter concludes that this will be ‘in the interests of seafarers and their families and the future of the Dutch maritime cluster’.

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