Until now the Dutch government had a very strict policy with regard to the protection of Dutch merchant ships against pirates in the shipping routes passing the north-eastern part of Africa. The only possibility for Dutch shipping companies was to ask for protection by special vessel protection detachments, formed by Dutch marines. In addition to this form of protection the Dutch government is willing to approve the use of armed private forces, but only in very specific situations. This plan has been discussed by the committee for Defence with minister Jeanine Hennis-Plasschaert on Wednesday July 3.