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 Sri Lanka becomes hub in Dutch anti-piracy drive

 The Royal Netherlands government has begun using key ports across Sri Lanka as points to disembark groups of marines deployed to protect Dutch marines from piracy attacks in the Indian Ocean. 

The group of Vessel Protection Detachment (VPD) team, currently protect vessels originating from Suez in Egypt.

Most of these attacks occur in the Arabian Sea, off the coast of Somalia, the Royal Netherlands embassy in Colombo said in a statement on Thursday.

With the assistance of the Sri Lankan defence authorities, the Dutch VPD teams now use certain local harbours to embark and disembark teams.

The marines also abide with Sri Lankan laws with respect to storing their weapons and ammunition.

Sri Lanka becomes hub in Dutch anti-piracy drive Feb 01, 2013 (LBO) - Dutch and Sri Lankan defence authorities are using ports in the island as a hub for the Royal Netherland Navy personnel to provide anti-piracy protection to ships crossing the Indian Ocean. Pirates originating from Somalia have become a serious threat to shipping in the Indian Ocean with most of the attacks occurring in the Arabian Sea.

The Netherlands embassy in Colombo said Dutch marines are being deployed on vessels crossing vulnerable seas and Sri Lanka was being used to on and off load vessel protection detachments (VPD).

"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 Dutch embassy said.

"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 first vessel protection team had disembarked from a vessel originating in Suez in Egypt and has departed by air from Colombo.

The Dutch embassy said giving protection though on board vessel protections teams was more efficient and cost effective than cost effective than using naval vessels.

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