In the future security guards on Dutch ships sailing through areas where piracy is prevalent may keep their own weapons and use them when necessary.

A legislative proposal from VVD and CDA that regulates this has now won over a majority in the lower house of Dutch parliament after coalition party Christenunie signed on. The centrist Christian party joined after an amendment was introduced to maintain camera surveillance on board , according to newspaper AD which believes there is majority support in the upper house as well.

Security guards must wear body cameras, the amendment states. These must be turned on when the ship enters dangerous waters. If there is indeed an attack by pirates or any other incident, the security officers must provide the images to the Public Prosecutor.

“In this way, the government must be able to control violent situations”, says Joël Voordewind, a ChristenUnie MP. Instead of body cameras, cameras may also be placed on the ship. “As long as we have 180 degrees of image”. If the security guards do not have image recordings, they could be punished for their involvement. 

Almost all other European countries make the deployment of security guards possible, but the Netherlands was never able to get a similar policy approved even following multiple piracy incidents off the coast of Somalia. Opponents believe only military forces and government authorities have the right to use violence as a means to prevent piracy.

The question is what problem the law currently addresses now that the number of hijackings off the Somalian coast has fallen to nearly nil. Nevertheless, according to Voordewind, it is still necessary, “There were 180 incidents in 2017….


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Armed guards on ships can fire on pirates
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