EU NAVFOR, Seychelles Coast Guard Apprehend 16 Pirates

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

The Seychelles Coast Guard apprehended a total of 16 suspected pirates the last several days after being cued each time by two EU NAVFOR aircraft.

On 18 November, the Seychelles Coast Guard successfully intercepted one whaler and one skiff, with five suspected pirates onboard.

This first operation took place after the EU NAVFOR French E-3F SDCA aircraft was launched to search for a Pirate Action Group (PAG) that was suspected of carrying out two unsuccessful attacks on fishing vessels the previous day. When it arrived in the area, the aircraft spotted three suspicious radar contacts, which were then investigated by the EU NAVFOR Luxembourg Maritime Patrol and Reconnaissance Aircraft (MPRA). It confirmed that it had found a PAG, 300 nautical miles South West of Port Victoria (Seychelles), comprising a whaler and two skiffs. The Seychelles Coast Guard, guided to the PAG’s position by the EU NAVFOR MPRA, intercepted the whaler and one skiff, with a total of five suspected pirates onboard. The other skiff fled the scene.

On 20 November, a second combined operation between EU NAVFOR and the Seychelles Coast Guard led to the interception of one PAG, made up of a whaler, one pirated fishing vessel and two skiffs, carrying a total of eleven suspected pirates and seven hostages onboard.

This second operation was possible after the EU NAVFOR French E-3F SDCA aircraft, and the EU NAVFOR Luxembourg MPRA, located a PAG, approximately 250 nautical miles North West from Port Victoria, also suspected of carrying out an unsuccessful attack on a Spanish fishing vessel the previous day. The Seychelles Coast Guards, guided by EU NAVFOR units, headed toward the PAG and found a fishing vessel towing a whaler and two skiffs. A successful boarding operation from the Seychelles Coast Guard led to the release of the seven Seychellois fishermen held hostage and the arrest of the eleven suspected pirates.

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