Somali Pirates Relocated to Seychelles for Legal Action

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A European Union vessel is transferring six alleged pirates to Seychelles for potential prosecution after an incident in the Gulf of Aden. Last week, the European Union Naval Force’s Operation ATALANTA confirmed a suspicious incident with the Marshall Islands-flagged Chrystal Arctic approximately 100 nautical miles north of Bosaso, Somalia.

UK Maritime Trade Operations (UKMTO) reported a vessel carrying five to six armed individuals approaching the tanker. The tanker’s Master enacted safety measures upon spotting the potential threat. The armed individuals on the small boat opened fire, prompting the tanker’s security team to return fire, causing the small boat to retreat.

An Operation ATALANTA vessel arrived at the scene and apprehended the six alleged pirates, some of whom needed medical attention for injuries. After assessing the evidence, EUNAVFOR has labeled the incident a piracy attack. A warship is now transporting the suspects to Seychelles.

Seychelles is one of the countries where Operation ATALANTA can legally try suspected pirates caught by its vessels. EUNAVFOR suspects the presence of multiple pirate groups off the Somali coast after several recent dhow hijackings. The MV Ruen and MV Abdullah were hijacked in December, with the former rescued by the Indian Navy after a three-month ordeal, and the latter released following an alleged ransom payment.

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