Operation launched after pirates seize fishing boat


07-April-2009

The Taiwanese longliner that has been hijacked by pirates in Seychelles’ waters

Taiwanese longliner the Win Far 161, with 29 crew on board, is licensed to operate in Seychelles’ waters and was attacked while fishing.

The Coast Guard – through its patrol vessel Andromache and with support from planes of the Island Development Company – is spearheading the action.

Minister for Environment, Natural Resources and Transport Joel Morgan gave these details yesterday after a meeting with the Maritime Safety Committee and other parties involved in negotiations for the safe release of 10 Seychellois sailors now held by Somali pirates.

He also confirmed a Seychellois military presence on two of the outer islands.
The aim of yesterday’s meeting was to discuss measures that should be taken by the government to respond to the new hijacking.

Mr Morgan said the position of the hijacking indicates that pirates are operating in Seychelles’ waters and added that the government will use all possible measures to deal with the situation.

He said that according to sources the pirates were leaving Seychelles’ exclusive economic zone when they realised there were fishing boats in the area and decided to pursue them.

Mr Morgan said the action of the pirates will severely affect our fishing and tourism industries, which will have serious repercussions for our economy if action is not taken.

He also said the government – through the Ministry of Foreign Affairs – has contacted the Taiwanese authorities to tell them about the incident and about action that will be taken to tackle the situation.

Mr Morgan said Seychelles has invited the Taiwanese authorities at political level to back us in the process of safeguarding our territorial and national integrity, to help stop the piracy and free the hostages.

He said the Seychellois authorities have provided friendly countries that have a military presence in the region with the position of the hijacked fishing boat so they can help in the operation.

He added that the government condemns in the strongest possible terms all acts of piracy on the high seas and all acts of violence committed against the citizens and property of Seychelles.

He said Seychelles will do its best with its available resources to put an end to such acts.

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