The refusal of defence minister Eimert van Middelkoop to place soldiers on board Dutch freighters travelling through the Gulf of Aden will drive shipping companies into the arms of private security firms, the chairwoman of the Dutch shippers association told tv programme Nova on Monday night.
The lack of official security was ‘an invitation’ to use such firms, Tineke Netelenbos, former transport minister, told Nova.
The shippers association had asked for troops to be put on board because of the number of incidents involving Somali pirates in the Gulf.
Van Middelkoop is opposed to putting marines on cargo ships because it could lead to an escalation of violence.
But, he told MPs during Monday night’s parliamentary debate, he was prepared allow Dutch frigates to escort particularly vulnerable ships – such as those which sail below 10 knots.
During the debate, MPs voted in favour of the frigate MS Evertsen joining the European Union’s anti-piracy operation in Somali waters from mid-August to mid-December.
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