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Prevention Efforts Stepped Up

Seychelles to get more assistance against piracy

Wolfgang H. Thome, eTN Ambassador  Sep 18, 2009

With the three Seychellois piracy victims now safely back home, more efforts to prevent piracy incidents in the island archipelago’s waters have become known. Tourism is one of the most important foreign exchange earners for the country, and the waters around the main and lesser islands are a paradise for hobby (and more professional) sailors on holiday wanting to explore the hundreds of islands the Seychelles is composed of – and spinning the seamen’s yarn when back home.

However, there have been warnings that pirates from the Horn of Africa, in particular the almost lawless Somalia, are now trying to dodge the naval coalition forces assembled in Djibouti and patrolling the waters around the main shipping lanes crossing from Suez through the Red Sea into the Indian Ocean by finding new hunting grounds.

There have been positive hints that in particular the United States has been boosting the Seychelles monitoring and patrolling capacity in recent weeks and months while naval units of the coalition are also said to be patrolling the waters of the Seychelles, while the country is building up its own capacity to enforce the rule of law in its own Indian Ocean expanse.

It is understood from sources in the Seychelles that the country is taking the concerns about piracy seriously and is devoting substantial resources to its national defense to ensure that visitors to the islands’ resorts are safe at all times.

Meanwhile, more efforts are underway internationally to combat the home bases of pirates along the extensive Somali coastline, and there appears to be a shift in thinking, as well as certain activities, that the pirates’ safe havens need to be targeted, too, and not only the so-called “motherships” at sea and the speed boats with which the pirates normally launch their attacks. Many pirates are thought to have died during the current monsoon season due to rough waters when their little boats capsized, but more recruits seem to make it into the ranks to participate in the lucrative business of piracy.

The absence of a generally-established central government and rule of law in the country has also led to the absence of work and job opportunities, considered a major reason why young Somalis are joining up with militias or pirates. Therefore, the eradication of militias and pirates will have to go hand in hand with a major reconstruction exercise in Somalia to provide security for all citizens, create much needed infrastructure, and make investments and job creation possible.

Seychelles to get more assistance against piracy
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