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EU hands over 6 Somali pirates suspected of attacking tanker to Seychelles for trial

Saturday May 18, 2024

Image Credits: EUNAVFOR Atalanta

The EU’s counter-piracy naval forces, Operation ATALANTA, has reportedly transferred six Somali pirates to Seychelles, where they will stand trial for a pirate attack on the Marshall Islands-flagged tanker dubbed the Crystal Arctic.

The vessel was reportedly attacked on 10 May in the waters of the Gulf of Aden.

However, the attack was repelled when the onboard security team members returned fire.

On Wednesday, Operation ATALANTA confirmed the transfer.

The suspects are currently in custody and awaiting a trial.

Before the suspects could be handed over, a delegation comprising the Minister of Internal Affairs, a representative associated with the National Information Sharing Coordination Centre, and members associated with the Seychellois Police Department, along with three representatives from the UN Office on Drugs and Crime (abbreviated as the UNODC), was briefed on the ATLANTA frigate.

The European delegation to Mauritius aided in the coordination with relevant Seychelles authorities.

Operation ATALANTA maintains legal agreements with various nations in its Area of Operations, including Seychelles, allowing for prosecuting suspected pirates apprehended by participating warships.

This legal process, known as the “Legal Finish”, includes deterrence, arrest, detention, and prosecution by international law.

Since its establishment in 2008, EUNAVFOR ATALANTA has reportedly transferred 177 suspected pirates to competent authorities, resulting in 145 convictions.

The operation remains dedicated to supporting Seychelles in prosecuting the case till it goes to trial.

Earlier this year, 35 suspected Somali pirates were taken to India for prosecution over the hijacking of the MV Ruen in mid-December.

India’s Navy successfully freed the vessel in March 2024 after three months in pirate captivity.

There have been increasing concerns regarding a resurgence of Somali piracy, with the EU Navfor saying that two or even more pirate action groups are highly active in Socotra Island and 500 nm toward the East of Socotra.

Reference: Seatrade Maritime


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