Suspected Pirates Arrive in Seychelles

On Saturday 18 January 2014, the French EU Naval Force (EU NAVFOR) Somalia Operation Atalanta flagship FS Siroco in cooperation with Japanese assets released the crew of a Dhow that was suspected to have been used as pirate mother-ship.
A boarding team from the FS Siroco boards an Indian Dhow, Saturday, 18 January 2014, to apprehend five suspected pirates following a failed attack on a tanker a day earlier. Photo courtesy EU NAVFOR

Five suspected pirates arrived in Seychelles on Wednesday to be prosecuted following an unsuccessful attack in the Gulf of Aden earlier this month.

The five suspects were apprehended January 18 aboard an Indian Dhow in a collaborative effort from Japanese assets from the Combined Maritime Forces (CMF/CTF 151) and the EU Naval Force (EU NAVFOR) Somalia Operation Atalanta flagship, FS Siroco. The five suspects allegedly used the Dhow as a mothership to launch an attack on an oil tanker in the Gulf of Aden a day earlier. The attack was aborted after the tanker’s armed security team returned fire.

The pirates were then brought aboard the FS Siroco for transfer to Seychelles and the Indian crew of the Dhow was released.

The attack marked the first recorded by Somali pirates in 2014.

The EU Naval Force said that crews were able to gather a significant amount of evidence against the suspects prior to their transfer to Seychelles.

The European Union, including through EU NAVFOR, has developed a successful partnership with the Republic of Seychelles in the fight against piracy. A transfer agreement in December 2009 has to date allowed for 47 suspected pirates to be transferred, with 33 pirates now prosecuted. As a result, Seychelles has played a leading role in the prosecution of pirates in the region.

Maciej Popowski, Deputy Secretary General of the European External Action Service, and current Chairman of the international Contact Group on Piracy off the Coast of Somalia (CGPCS), said: “We thank the Government of Seychelles for their continued collaboration which shows the quality of our relations and their very active role in fighting piracy in the Indian Ocean.”

The EU NAVFOR Force Commander, Rear Admiral Hervé Bléjean, said: “I wish to express my deepest consideration to H.E. Mr. James Alix Michel, president of the Republic of Seychelles, for allowing us to proceed with the transfer of the suspected pirates. More broadly I would also like to extend my thanks to the Seychelles’ Government and judiciary authorities for their involvement in the process throughout. Finally, I would like to express my highest gratitude towards H.E. Ambassador Geneviève Iancu, French Ambassador and current representative of the EU presidency in the Seychelles, for her decisive action to achieve this successful legal finish. Operation Atalanta’s dedication to act decisively against piracy would not be fully achieved without the ability to prosecute those involved in piracy. I also urge the maritime industry, as an actor of its own security at sea, to continue applying best management practices at the appropriate level.”