The Netherlands wants to invest $274 million to fortify security in the North Sea, where there are thousands of miles of cables and pipelines.
In a letter to the Dutch Parliament, Defence Minister Kajsa Ollongren and State Defence Secretary Christophe van der Maat said that the government will install cameras, radar systems and automatic identification system trackers on drilling platforms and offshore wind turbines operating in the area.
The country will also purchase two vessels with underwater monitoring technology to patrol the region, according to a Defense News report.
The government said offshore infrastructure in the North Sea is critical to the nation’s economy and national security.
The defense officials said enhancing the Netherlands’ intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance capabilities in the North Sea will better protect infrastructure and deter sabotage and espionage operations. Surface vessels conducting “undesirable underwater activities” pose the primary threats, they added.
Included in the Defence Ministry’s ISR capability upgrade plans is the acquisition of commercial satellite capacity, which will help monitor ship movements, including tracking so-called dark vessels with deactivated automatic identification system transponders. The commercial satellites will be used until the Netherlands starts building its satellite assets in 2027, the letter said.
The defense modernization plan complements the Netherlands’ policy of supporting multinational programs that seek to bolster security in the region, the Defense Post reported.
Currently, the country is part of NATO’s Critical Undersea Infrastructure Coordination Cell, which safeguards Europe’s important undersea infrastructure, and the United Kingdom-led Joint Expeditionary Force, a military coalition supporting the development of forces and capabilities under NATO.