Shipping firms hire anti-pirate gunboats

At least four Dutch shipping companies have taken out insurance packages which include a hefty discount if they use an armed escort to sail through the Gulf of Aden, the Volkskrant reports on Wednesday.

Insurance agent Aon Nederland claims to have sold four polices and to have two offers pending. ‘Those opting for a security firm get a discount on their insurance premium,’ director Rogier van der Sluijs tells the paper.
The use of an armed escort boat through the pirate-infested waters of the gulf avoids the ban on Dutch ships carrying weapons, the paper says.
Machine gun
Van der Sluijs tells the paper that British security firm Hart not only trains crews to deal with the threat of pirates but keeps in contact in an armoured escort boat. That boat has a machine gun with a range of 1.8 km mounted on the deck.
The escort boats travel under other flags and are manned by British, US and South African former soldiers, the paper says.
Last week, the Dutch Antillean ship Marathon was taken by pirates and is now thought to be off the coast of Somalia. The Dutch frigate De Zeven Provinciƫn is on its way to the region.

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