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Armed guards on ships could be an offence, says minister

Friday 11 November 2011

Shipping firms which place private armed security guards on ships passing areas where pirates operate risk criminal prosecution, justice minister Ivo Opstelten said on Thursday evening.

Jumbo Shipping from Rotterdam and Vroon Shipping based in Breskens have both said they will carry armed guards while sailing under the Dutch flag.

'The guards are a deterrent. They carry semi-automatic weapons and are visible on board ship,' a spokesman for Jumbo Shipping is quoted as saying by Nos television.

Defence ministry

MPs have also condemned the move by the two shipping firms.

The ministry of defence has set up special teams to help combat the threat of piracy but the shipping firms say this is not a solution. 'You have to order them six weeks in advance and we cannot work like that,' the Jumbo spokesman said.

Denmark, Spain, Norway and Britain do allow shipping firms to use private security guards while travelling close to the Somali coast.

© DutchNews.nl

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Readers' comments (3)

Sail through international waters infested with pirates who'll kill you without a thought? Sounds great not to possess defensive capabilities...

By Jon | November 11, 2011 2:52 PM

Oh, brilliant move! Make the poor guys working on these ships into sitting ducks. And will the Dutch government pay their hefty ransoms when they are overpowered by pirates? Will the Dutch navy be there to escort them through the danger zones? To expect them to assume such heavy risks without the possibility of self-defense is idiotic.

By tls | November 11, 2011 5:21 PM

Ha ha, this is so funny!

Security guards okay in the supermarkets in NL, but not on sailing vessels in pirate infested waters? Again here stupid coffee-shop legalities, get real please!

By The visitor | November 11, 2011 9:14 PM

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