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10 pirates arrested by Seychelles authorities

Photo credit: NATO, JCL Lisbon

(BRUSSELS2) This is in a way the first application of the exchange of letters between the EU and the Seychelles, which constitutes an agreement for the transfer of suspects until formalization. But also a concrete example of the cooperation that has been established for the fight against piracy between the different resources in the area (EUNAVFOR, Seychelles, NATO).

As for Sunday morning, a Spanish fishing vessel was attacked 175 nautical miles east of Victoria, it was due to the private security team on board which reacted to the pirate fire with gunfire. 'warning. But it's not a question of letting the pirates do it again. The Eunavfor Atalanta HQ therefore sends one of Luxembourg's maritime patrol planes, based in the Seychelles, to the area to find out more and spot suspicious boats. The Seychelles Coast Guard is also notified as well as all vessels in the area. With the German ship Bremen docked in Victoria resupplying (and relaxing), the Portuguese NATO frigate Alvares Cabral is called into action.

Photo credit: NATO, JCL Lisbon

Fast enough, " in the afternoon, the maritime patrol plane spots a pirate group with a mother ship and two attack skiffs in the vicinity of the attack » then explains the Atalanta HQ (1). “ All units then move towards the area. The Seychelles Coast Guard vessel – closest to the area – stops the mother ship and one of the skiffs. 4 suspects in total are arrested But a skiff flees. A few hours later, the NRP Alvares Cabral successfully intercepted the (lost) skiff. Six other suspects arrested and handed over to Seychelles Coast Guard ».

NB: This official version avoids asking the question how a Portuguese NATO ship can hand over apprehended suspects to the Seychelles authorities. The answer in fact is quite quick: legally it is not possible for a NATO ship. If the Portuguese were part of the Atalanta fleet, on the contrary it would be possible. But as we are in the Seychelles Exclusive Economic Zone, the Seychelles Coast Guard retains some jurisdiction.


(1) On indication of the attack Luxembourg EU NAVFOR Maritime Patrol Aircraft, operating from the Seychelles, was tasked to confirm the situation of the vessel and search for the pirate attack group. The Seychelles Coast Guard was informed by EU NAVFOR and immediately sent the Coast Guard vessel Andromache to the attack position. German EU NAVFOR warship FGS Bremen, at the moment of the attack loading gasoline in the port of Victoria, was tasked to search and neutralize the pirate attack group as soon as the loading was completed. Portuguese warship NRP Alvares Cabral of NATO, also in the area on counter piracy patrol, responded to participate in the search for the Pirate Attack Group. In the afternoon the maritime patrol aircraft detected in the vicinity of the earlier attack a complete pirate attack group with one mother skiff and two attack skiffs. All units were directed to this position to intercept. The Seychelles Coastguard closest to the position boarded and secured the mother skiff and one attack skiff. A total of 4 suspected pirates were detained. The third skiff initially escaped the arrest but NRP Alvares Cabral successfully intercepted this skiff several hours later. The six suspected pirates on board were handed over to the Seychelles Coast Guard.


Nicolas Gros Verheyde

Chief editor of the B2 site. Graduated in European law from the University of Paris I Pantheon Sorbonne and listener to the 65th session of the IHEDN (Institut des Hautes Etudes de la Défense Nationale. Journalist since 1989, founded B2 - Bruxelles2 in 2008. EU/NATO correspondent in Brussels for Sud-Ouest (previously West-France and France-Soir).

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