Thursday, October 3, 2013

More Pirates Jailed Following Attack on Merchant Shipping Vessels

Another Victory for EU Navfor as Seychelles Court Passes Sentences up to 16 Years
Shipping News Feature

SOMALIA – SEYCHELLES – Justice, it seems, moves slightly faster in the Seychelles than in Kenya judging by yesterday’s events at the Seychelles Supreme Court when eleven convicted pirates received sentences of between 18 months to 16 years. The men were captured by operatives belonging to the EU Naval Force on the 11th May 2012 after the warship’s Lynx helicopter sighted a suspicious fishing dhow towing 2 skiffs, 400 nautical miles off the Somali coast.

At that time we, amongst others, had been pointing out the ineffectiveness of arresting many suspected pirates only for them to be released ashore almost immediately for want of evidence, the miscreants having thrown overboard all signs of piracy before being boarded. This case however provided no such opportunity as, when the warship’s boarding team approached the dhow, the Dutch Navy crew found 11 suspected pirates of Somali origin together with a total of 17 hostages being held captive on board.

The 17 hostages were Iranian fishermen who were understandably grateful to the Dutch sailors for their release and all 28 were swiftly transferred to HNLMS Van Amstel, after which the boarding party found significant evidence that linked the pirate crew to an armed attack on the tanker ‘Super Lady’, a few days earlier.

The justice meted out to the criminals was swift in comparison to exactly the same number of pirates who were jailed at the same time this latest bunch were captured. The 11 men then were landed in Kenya after being caught three years previously, in May 2009 and incarcerated until found guilty in April 2012, before all being sentenced as reported here a month later to twenty years each.

Photo: The 11 men being handed over to justice.