Patrolling stepped up to find Aride and crew


05-November-2011

The Aride was 65 miles west of Mahe the last time it was in contact with the SPDF Coastguards and the Seychelles Fishing Authority (SFA).

According to the Minister for Home Affairs, Environment and Transport, Joel Morgan, after contact was lost Sunday, it is feared the boat could have been seized by pirates, especially after a French vessel, Julia Torres, which was attacked, reported sighting a fishing boat -- the description of which matched the Aride -- tied to the pirate mother ship.

The attack on the Julia Torres, which was repelled, occurred 200 miles north-west of Denis Island.
It appears that the pirates were poised for more attacks against shipping and could still be in the area, though the zone is quite extensive.

After spotter planes from Norwegian and European warships in the zone had initially reported no sighting of the Aride, patrols are being stepped up to find the vessel and the two fishermen aboard.

Mr Morgan noted that we are presently better geared to fight the Somali pirates. For instance our Twin Otter planes have cameras fitted onto them, we have received  planes from friendly countries and the United Arab Emirates is building a new coastguard base for us.

Yet, said Minister Morgan, who chairs the high-level anti-piracy committee, “the Indian Ocean is a vast expanse to cover”.

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