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.
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.
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