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* Sri Lanka, Netherlands cooperate to provide protection against maritime piracy
Thu, Jan 31, 2013, 01:56 pm SL Time, ColomboPage News Desk, Sri Lanka.

Jan 31, Colombo: The government of the Netherlands with the cooperation of Sri Lanka's Ministry of Defense and Urban Development is providing security to the international trade vessels against maritime piracy.

According to a release from the Netherlands Embassy in Colombo, arrangements have been made to use certain Sri Lankan harbors to on-, and off-load Dutch Vessel Protection Detachment (VPD) teams which provides protection on board against piracy attacks .

The first team of Dutch marines of the Royal Netherlands Navy departed from Bandaranaike Colombo International Airport this morning to return to the Netherlands after disembarking from a Dutch vessel in the Colombo harbor the day before, the Dutch Embassy said.

The team was part of a 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. Most of these attacks occur in the Arabian Sea, off the coast of Somalia, according to the Embassy.

The Embassy says while using Sri Lanka's harbors to on- and off-load the VPD teams of armed Dutch marines, strict regulations and procedures are followed to act in accordance with the Sri Lankan law in respect to weapons and ammunition.

Since the protection of vessels by the Royal Netherlands Navy is costly and time consuming, it is essential to deploy these protection teams in the most efficient way, the Embassy noted in its statement.

"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 Embassy said.

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