Somali Pirate Suspects Handed Over by EU for Trial in Seychelles

The European Union’s anti-piracy naval forces, Operation ATALANTA, have handed over six Somali pirates to Seychelles for trial following an attack on the Crystal Arctic, a Marshall Islands-flagged tanker, which occurred on 10 May in the Gulf of Aden. The attack was thwarted by the vessel’s security team firing back.

Confirmation of the transfer was made by Operation ATALANTA on Wednesday. The suspects are now in custody awaiting trial. Prior to their handover, a delegation including 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 UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), were briefed on the ATLANTA frigate.

The European delegation to Mauritius facilitated coordination with Seychellois authorities. Operation ATALANTA has legal agreements with several nations in its operating region, including Seychelles, to prosecute suspected pirates apprehended by participating warships. This process, known as the “Legal Finish,” involves deterrence, arrest, detention, and prosecution under international law.

Since its inception in 2008, EUNAVFOR ATALANTA has handed over 177 suspected pirates to competent authorities, resulting in 145 convictions. The operation is committed to assisting Seychelles in the trial process. Earlier this year, 35 suspected Somali pirates were taken to India for prosecution for the hijacking of the MV Ruen.

India’s Navy successfully liberated the vessel in March 2024 after it was held captive by pirates for three months. The EU Navfor has raised concerns about a resurgence of Somali piracy, noting that multiple pirate groups are active near Socotra Island and 500 nm east of Socotra.

Image Credits: EUNAVFOR Atalanta
Reference: Seatrade Maritime

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