A representatives of the Seychelles Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the High Level Committee on Piracy, Mr. Jacques Belle, has presented a comprehensive overview of Seychelles’ fight against piracy at a conference in the UK at Wilton Park, West Sussex, which took place between July 7-10.
The conference entitled, “Building Local Capacity for Maritime Security,” was organized by the British Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) and focused on global maritime security issues, in particular on piracy and on how developing countries and international donors can work together more effectively to build capacity in the most affected areas.
The gathering was attended by Resident British High Commissioner to Seychelles, H.E. Matthew Forbes, among other participants, which included high-level representatives and technical experts of international organizations such as the European Union (EU), North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), International Maritime Organization (IMO), and RECAAP (Information Sharing Centre for Asia), as well as several other country representatives from India, Denmark, Kenya, the USA, and South Africa.
Mr. Belle was invited to deliver a presentation on the first day of the conference, entitled “Maritime Security: the Seychelles experience.” The presentation covered the progress of the government in fighting the scourge of piracy since the first attack in February 2009 and included Seychelles’ plans to host a Regional Piracy Unit.
The participants expressed their appreciation for the important role that Seychelles currently has in prosecuting Somali pirates and saluted other efforts, including the recent Memorandums of Understanding and Prisoner Transfer Agreements signed by Seychelles with the various Somali authorities, and the harmonization of Seychelles legislation with UN Convention on Law of the Sea to prosecute pirates.
In addition, participants praised the efficient role played by the Seychelles’ High Level Committee on Piracy, chaired by Minister for Home Affairs, Transport and Energy, Mr. Joel Morgan.
This recognition was further highlighted by the Chairman’s, Mr. Robert Grant the Program Director of Wilton Park, remarks stating that: “Seychelles [has] an acute sense of crisis on piracy, and as a small country it has established a remarkable small executive committee that takes decisions more effectively.”
PHOTO (L to R): H.E. Mathew Forbes (British High Commissioner in Seychelles), Mr. Jacques Belle (Desk officer for Piracy at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Seychelles), and H.E. Thomas Winkler (Under-Secretary for Legal Affairs at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Denmark)