Seychelles accepts to try seven suspected pirates


03-December-2011

The suspected pirates are handed over to the local authorities for prosecution

They were caught by British Royal Marines based aboard UK ship RFA Fort Victoria.

The ship was on its way to Seychelles for routine re-supply and maintenance when on November 28, it intercepted two vessels approximately 400nm north of Seychelles. The vessels appeared to be attacking the supply ship Alakrantxu, a Spanish-owned boat based in Victoria.

Warning shots were fired from a Royal Naval helicopter before Royal Marines from RFA Fort Victoria, supported by the helicopter, successfully captured the vessels.

No-one was injured during the boarding and the team were able to gather potential evidence that could be used in the prosecution.

Under the memorandum of understanding on the transfer of suspected pirates signed between UK and Seychelles, Seychelles can consider accepting the transfer of pirate suspects where there is sufficient evidence to pursue a prosecution.

Given the alleged circumstances, and threat to Seychelles’ tuna fishing industry, the Seychelles government agreed it would accept the seven suspected pirates for prosecution.

Minister for Home Affairs, Environment and Transport, Joel Morgan, said:
“These suspected pirates were allegedly targeting licensed vessels operating within the region and were posing a direct threat to the fishing industry of our country. As we made clear in the past, these aggressive acts will not be tolerated and we will fulfil our responsibilities to protect our economic interests and the people who work within the maritime sector and bring these men to justice. The message is clear; there is no impunity for pirates where Seychelles is concerned and we are grateful to committed partners like the British Navy for sharing in that commitment.”

Speaking of the suspected pirates’ successful capture, British high commissioner Matthew Forbes said:
“This is clear example of co-operation between the international forces protecting the Somali basin and the Seychelles government, demonstrating that pirates will not be allowed to act with impunity. The tuna fishing industry is vital to the Seychelles’ economy and I’m pleased that the UK forces were able to thwart this potential attack.

“Seychelles’ willingness to prosecute pirates serves as an excellent example to other states and we are working with our international partners to ensure that convicted pirates can be repatriated to Somalia to serve their sentences.

We also continue to work towards the establishment of an international specialist unit in Seychelles to tackle the organisers and financiers of piracy.”

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