The House of Representatives has agreed to the contribution of an Autonomous Vessel Protection Detachment (AVPD) to Operation Atalanta, the EU mission concerned with protecting food transports to Somalia. The advantage of AVPDs is that the military personnel can be stationed directly on the ship in need of protection, so that no naval escort is necessary.
The Netherlands is already contributing to the operation with naval vessels, and it also stations Vessel Protection Detachments (VPD) on vulnerable Dutch merchant ships.
‘Combating piracy is a priority,’ Minister of Foreign Affairs Uri Rosenthal has said. ‘With the help of AVPDs the Netherlands will protect food transports and preventing hostage-taking. The deployment of AVPDs also frees up naval vessels, which can then be used to protect merchant ships. In this way Dutch ships also stand to benefit from this new system. It is, briefly put, a smart use of scarce resources.’