Enlisting the protection from the VPD is not an option for many shipowners from the point of view of flexibility, scope and costs. It is in these situations that a shipowner must have the opportunity to employ private security guards. In this way, a shipowner can protect crew and ship against possible piracy attacks in all circumstances. The Ministry of Defence has identified three factors on which the deployment of the VPD depends. These factors are not flexible.
Flexibility: A VPD unit can sometimes not be deployed on board a ship on time due to the length of time required for processing an application. In the spot market especially – in which numerous Dutch ships operate, and in which cargoes must be transported within a few days – the deployment of a VPD unit is difficult to guarantee.
Scope of the VPD: In order to guarantee the safety of its own personnel, the Dutch Ministry of Defence has determined that a VPD unit must consist of at least eleven soldiers. However, Dutch ships are often quite small, with a limited number of cabins on board. As a result, there are sometimes simply not enough sleeping places on board for a VPD unit.
Costs: The Dutch Ministry of Defence has set the costs for deployment of a VPD unit at €5,000 per day; to be paid by the shipowner. This is considerably higher than the costs for the private security teams that all other European flagged-ships are allowed to sail with. This creates a major competitive disadvantage when entering into contracts.