US hails our leadership in counter-piracy efforts


“We welcome the November 5 sentencing by the Republic of Seychelles of 15 in connection with an attack on a merchant ship and the abduction of 13 Iranian fishermen rescued by the US Navy,” says the department on its website.

“This sentencing brings the total number of convicted pirates to 631 – 98 in Seychelles alone – with 440 other suspected pirates facing justice in 21 countries, including the United States.

“We appreciate Seychelles’ regional leadership on counter-piracy, as seen in their willingness to prosecute and incarcerate Somali pirates, as well as their hosting of a regional intelligence coordination centre to support future piracy prosecutions.

Victoria Nuland – a spokesperson for the department – said Monday’s sentencing marks “a positive step forward for building a strong and unified international response against piracy originating from Somalia and for promoting freedom of navigation worldwide”.

The Supreme Court presided over by judge Mohan Burhan on Monday found 15 Somalis guilty of piracy and jailed them for up to 18 years.

They had been accused of taking a vessel called Al Molai unlawfully while armed with guns and attempting to hijack oil tanker MV Sunshine.

When congratulating US President Barack Obama on his re-election, President James Michel praised the strong partnership between Seychelles and America in strengthening maritime security in the Indian Ocean and in combating the on-going threat of piracy in the region.

“Seychelles is currently celebrating the release of its two hostages that were being held in Somalia.  We are also encouraged that piracy attacks on the whole are decreasing. But our fisheries industry, as well as trade in general in the region, is still held hostage by the debilitating cost of piracy in the region.  The risk of attack is still there, and we must remain ever vigilant,” Mr Michel told Mr Obama.

“The initiative led by the Republic of Seychelles in partnership with countries such as the US to track and prosecute the financiers of piracy is also a key part of the long-term solution required against piracy.

“We have confidence that the US will continue to strengthen its partnership against piracy with us, and I look forward to working with you on this,” said Mr Michel to the US President-elect.