An armed merchantman is a merchant ship which has been fitted for warfare/defence. In order to accomplish this, some adjustments had to be made. First of all the ships hull and masts were strengthened and portholes were added.
In the ordinances of 1550/1551 the protection of the maritime trade became a part of the Dutch maritime politics. Merchants equipped their ships with weapons to be sure of a save voyage.
In September 2006 the archaeological diving team of the former ROB/NISA (ROB stands for the Cultural Heritage Agency of the Netherlands, NISA was it's diving team) spent three weeks conducting an archaeological survey, after an appeal for help received from a local amateur diver's association (WDRS). Although this was a archaeological survey three cannon and some pottery were salvaged because of the risk of treasure hunters. Other cannon of this wreck were already taken and sold by divers; including a bronze, richly decorated canon (canon Rit-024). Inscription 'Mester Merten' on the cannon. In the city of Middelburg a bill dating from 1532 speaks of two cannon (veldslang) bought from a Maarten Pasterrnakel busgieter in Mechelen.