(UDHAYAM, COLOMBO) – The Netherlands Government signed an MoU with the Sri Lankan Government on Tuesday (16) at the Ministry of Defence on provision of services to the Netherlands Merchant Vessel Protection Detachments (VPDs) operating in the Indian Ocean.
The Netherlands Ambassador in Sri Lanka Her Excellency Joanne Doornewaard and Secretary to the Ministry of Defence Eng. Karunasena Hettiarachchi signed the MoU representing the two governments. Commander of the Navy Vice Admiral Ravindra Wijegunaratne, Director General Operations, Rear Admiral Piyal De Silva and Officials of Netherland Embassy were also present on this occasion.
This remains as the first ever MoU being signed between the Sri Lankan Government and a foreign country with regard to the facilitation of OBST operations, to date.
The initial discussion on the above was transpired during the bilateral discussions held at the last year’s Galle Dialogue. The Commander of the Royal Netherlands Navy, Vice Admiral Rob Verkerk requested assistance for the Dutch Marines who are providing onboard security to the Netherlands Merchant Vessels plying in the Indian Ocean, in terms of embarking/disembarking of Marine Commandos at Galle and storage of small arms.
As at today, around 25 local agents are obtaining services from the Navy to support closer to 90 foreign companies involved in onboard security services.
Following the discussions between the Commander of the Sri Lanka Navy and the Commander of the Netherlands Navy at the Galle Dialogue, the interaction between the two navies was further augmented. As a result, two Dutch Marines were invited to attend the Asymmetric Warfare Course conducted by the Sri Lanka Navy Special Boat Squadron in Trincomalee. Two Dutch Marines successfully completed the course which commenced in January 2017 and they were graduated on completion of the course which lasted three months.
Onboard Security Teams (OBST) are specialized in providing affordable security solutions for vessels operating in high risk waters and provide security training, risk consulting and security planning for the maritime community.
Meanwhile, the Sri Lanka Navy earned billions of money to the government coffers having undertaken the facilitation of OBST operations following a presidential directive.