Merchant ships should be allowed to carry arms: advice

The Netherlands should allow merchant ships to carry armed guards to protect themselves against pirates, a government advisory committee said on Thursday.

‘You cannot deny a captain the right to defend himself,’ committee chairman Joris Voorhoeve, a former defence minister, is quoted as saying by the Financieele Dagblad.
The committee, which looks at international issues, had been looking into ways merchant shipping countries can protect themselves against piracy.

Dutch flag

At the moment it is illegal for ships sailing under the Dutch flag to carry armed guards.
Tineke Netelenbos, chairwoman of the Dutch shipping association, welcomed the recommendations. ‘It is incomprehensible that this has not already been done,’ she said.
The FD says there have been 14 attempted ship hijacks off the coast of Somalia so far this year. Since 2005, 29 Dutch ships have been attacked by pirates.

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