Dutch Shipping Firms Urge For Armed Protection On Their Vessels Amid Red Sea Crisis

Dutch shipping firms have approached the Defence Ministry for permission to put armed guards on their vessels to prevent any attacks by Houthis in the Red Sea. The Netherlands is behind other nations, as reported by the ship owners’ association named the KNVR, in not offering armed guards or navy vessel escorts.

Dutch law limits ship owners from employing private security teams without military backup, worsening the issue and putting companies at a competitive disadvantage. The KNVR requested that the armed guards be reinstated in a letter seen by the FD.nl. The guards were removed on 19 December after the infrastructure ministry cautioned Dutch vessels to steer clear of the area.

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They also want the Netherlands and the EU to strengthen two missions in the Red Sea area, Operation Prosperity Guardian and Operation Poseidon Archer, aimed at disrupting the Houthi capacity by shooting down drones as well as targeting radar equipment or rocket launchers.

The 1,100 vessels that sail with the Dutch flag and their cargo are becoming challenging to ensure as Houthi attacks intensify, per Annet Koster, the KNVR director. Koster said the Netherlands is the only nation that enforces this link between private security and the military.

Giuseppe Trizzino, director of the Netherlands-based private security firm Praesidium International, stated that they still receive orders from businesses arranging for their vessels to sail under the Italian/Luxembourg flag.

The ministry did not comment on the letter’s contents. However, Ollongren informed the parliament last week that the government had been looking to bolster its security in the Gulf.

As part of the EU mission or Operation Prosperity Guardian, a potential option being discussed is to send the air defence frigate Zr.Ms. Tromp to the region for six months starting March.

Reference: Hellenic Shipping News

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