EUNAVFOR transfers 5 suspected Somali pirates transferred to Seychelles
Seychelles police arrest 5 suspected pirates transferred by the Siroco on 30th January 2014 (Patrick Joubert, Seychelles Nation)
(Seychelles News Agency) - Five Somali suspected pirates aged between 16- 24 years were transferred to the Seychelles police this evening by the French naval ship FS Siroco, part of the EUNAVFOR Atalanta operation, according to a statement by the Seychelles police.
They are suspected of attacking an oil tanker on January 17 in the Gulf of Aden. On January 18, the FS Siroco, in cooperation with a Japanese air force plane in the Combined Maritime Forces (CMF/CTF 151), freed the crew of an Indian dhow that was believed to have been used by the 5 suspected pirates as a mother-ship in the attack on the oil tanker.
According to a statement today from the EU Naval Force, the FS Siroco crew was "able to gather a significant amount of evidence, as it is the EU’s ambition to support a legal finish where possible [for prosecution in Seychelles]....With 33 pirates now prosecuted, the Seychelles play a leading role in achieving a legal finish against pirates in the region."
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."
The EU and the Seychelles signed a pirate transfer agreement signed in December 2009, which has up to date allowed for 47 (including the latest 5) suspected pirates to be transferred to Seychelles for prosecution.
There are now 23 suspected pirates awaiting trial in Seychelles ‘Montagne Posee’ prison among a population of 61 Somalis. The remaining 38 have already been sentenced.
Out of 147 pirates brought to Seychelles for trial since 2009, 124 have been convicted, with 86 later repatriated to Somalia to serve their prison sentence.