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Suspected Somali pirates to stand trial in Seychelles

Mike Schuler
Friday May 17, 2024

Photo courtesy EUNAVFOR

The European Union’s counter-piracy naval force, Operation ATALANTA, has transferred six suspected Somali pirates to Seychelles, where they will stand trial for a pirate attack on the Marshall Islands-flagged tanker Chrystal Arctic.

The ship was attacked on May 10 in the Gulf of Aden, however the attack was repelled when the ship’s on board security team returned fire.

The transfer was confirmed by Operation ATALANTA on Wednesday. The suspects are now in custody and awaiting trial.

Before the suspects were handed over, a delegation consisting of the Minister of Internal Affairs, a representative from the National Information Sharing Coordination Centre, and members of the Seychellois Police Department, along with three representatives from the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), were briefed on board the ATALANTA frigate. The European delegation to Mauritius assisted in coordinating with Seychelles authorities.

Operation ATALANTA maintains legal agreements with various nations in its Area of Operations, including Seychelles, allowing for the prosecution of suspected pirates apprehended by participating warships. This legal process, known as the “Legal Finish”, includes deterrence, arrest, detention, and prosecution in accordance with international law.

Since its establishment in 2008, EUNAVFOR ATALANTA has transferred 177 suspected pirates to competent authorities, resulting in 145 convictions. The operation remains committed to supporting Seychelles in prosecuting the case until it goes to trial.

Earlier this year, 35 suspected Somali pirates were taken to India for prosecution over the hijacking on the MV Ruen in mid-December. The ship was freed by the Indian Navy in March after three months in pirate captivity.


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