Seychelles Foreign Affairs Minister visits EU NAVFOR Operation HeadquartersOctober 29, 2010 - 12:00
On 28 October, EU NAVFOR welcomed Mr. Jean-Paul Adam, the Republic of Seychelles Foreign Affairs Minister in its Operation Headquarters (Northwood – UK). The visit was made to provide him with an update on EU NAVFOR’s actions and to discuss the ways to strengthen cooperation between EU NAVFOR and Seychelles.
“EU NAVFOR’s short-term challenge is to encourage the merchant vessels to better protect themselves while transiting the area, as self-defence is the single most effective counter to piracy attacks”, explained Colonel Richard Spencer, Chief of Staff of EU NAVFOR Operation Headquarters. “For the whole international community, the longer-term objectives must be to help in the matter of regional maritime capacity building, as well as getting the Somali authorities to tackle this problem at source.”
Eleven suspected pirates arrested by EU NAVFOR have been transferred to Seychelles for prosecution and are awaiting judgment (more details here). Not only is Seychelles a strong partner for EU NAVFOR on the legal aspects, but it also plays an operational role in the counter-piracy.
On 29 March 2010, an EU NAVFOR Maritime Patrol and Reconnaissance Aircraft based in the Seychelles supported the Seychelles Coast Guard vessel TOPAZ to apprehend three pirated ships. This action from the TOPAZ ensured the release of 27 hostages and the capture of 9 pirates.
On 29 May 2010, the Seychelles Coast Guard disrupted 9 suspected pirates after being led to the target by an EU NAVFOR Maritime Patrol and Reconnaissance Aircraft.
The close cooperation between EU NAVFOR and the Seychelles Coast Guard, combined with the use of a common real-time communication system, “Mercury”, has proven to enable successful actions in counter-piracy operations.
Finally, an agreement recently signed between EU NAVFOR and the Seychelles “SEYPEC” company offers a new refuelling facility to warships in Port Victoria, making of Seychelles a major support base of EU NAVFOR in the southern Somali Basin.
“EU NAVFOR welcomes the efforts of the Republic of Seychelles, directly confronted with the effects of piracy in the region, to take part in the fight against these illegal activities”, said Rear-Admiral Thomas Ernst, EU NAVFOR Deputy Commander. “EU NAVFOR supports regional initiatives to tackle this problem and I know that the European Union in its entirety is working very hard fighting the root causes of piracy in the region.”
The Republic of Seychelles Foreign Affairs Minister expressed his gratitude for the actions conducted by EU NAVFOR to improve security in the Horn of Africa, and confirmed Seychelles willingness to enhance its cooperation in the fight against piracy.
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