Colombo a hub to combat sea pirates

Colombo has been used as a hub to combat attacks on sea pirates, the Netherlands Embassy in Colombo said today.

The Embassy said that the first team of Dutch marines (Royal Netherlands Navy) to use Colombo as a hub against piracy departed from the island this morning to return to the Netherlands after disembarking from a Dutch vessel in the Colombo harbour the day before.

The marines were part of a Vessel Protection Detachment (VPD) team, deployed on the vessel originating from Suez in Egypt.

The Dutch VPD team offered protection on board against piracy attacks in the Indian Ocean, the Embassy said.

“In good cooperation with the Government of Sri Lanka – more specifically with the Ministry of Defense and Urban Development – arrangements have been made to use certain Sri Lankan harbours to on-, and off-load Dutch VPD teams. Strict regulations and procedures are followed to act in accordance with the Sri Lankan law in respect to weapons and ammunition,” the Embassy added.

The protection of vessels by the Royal Netherlands Navy is costly and time consuming. Therefore, the Embassy said that it is essential to deploy these protection teams in the most efficient way.

The cooperation with the Sri Lankan authorities is of importance, since Sri Lanka is geographically positioned at the boundary of the greatest risk area to ships.

“The cooperation with Sri Lanka to protect one of the world’s main international trading routes over sea (approximately 300 international vessels a day), therefore is of major significance,” the Netherlands Embassy in Colombo said. (Colombo Gazette)