On Monday 25 February Dutch EU Naval Force frigate HNLMS De Ruyter transferred nine suspected pirates to the Seychelles authorities for prosecution.
The transfers happened after HNLMS De Ruyter, who was conducting counter piracy patrols, stopped two skiffs on 19 February 120 nautical miles off the Somali Coast and apprehended nine suspected pirates on board.
During the operation, helicopters from both HNLMS De Ruyter and EU Naval Force flagship ESPS Mendez Nunez, together with the Spanish EU NAVFOR Maritime Patrol Reconnaissance Aircraft (MPRA), were able to locate the two skiffs and in a combined effort, stop them in the water approximately 200 nautical miles north east of Eyl. The nine men were then held on board HNLMS De Ruyter for further investigations and evidence collection in order to fully assess the possibility of prosecution. The two attack skiffs were also seized.
Today, after the Republic of the Seychelles agreed to take the nine suspected pirates for prosecution, De Ruyter, who is currently alongside Port Victoria, transferred the men to the Seychelles’ Authorities.
Speaking about the second successful transfer of suspected pirates by the EU Naval Force within the past 5 weeks, the Operation Commander of the European Union Naval Force Rear Admiral Bob Tarrant said “I welcome the decision of the Republic of the Seychelles to once again prosecute those suspected of attacking ships at sea. The Seychelles are a steadfast partner of the EU, determined and committed in the fight against piracy. Once more we have sent a clear message to pirates that the EU Naval Force will always seek, whenever possible, a legal finish”.
The first transfer in 2013 was on 25 January, when twelve suspect pirates were transferred to Mauritius for prosecution.