Trial of 5 suspected Somali pirates to begin in Seychelles Aug. 30

Only three out of the five Somali suspects appeared in court on Monday while the other two are receiving medical assistance. (Rassin Vannier)

(Seychelles News Agency) – The trial of five suspected Somali pirates who were transferred to the Seychelles by EU NAVFOR in April last year will start in the Seychelles Supreme Court on Aug. 30.

The suspects appeared before Justice Gustave Dodin at the Supreme Court via videolink and were informed of the starting date of their trial and the hearing which will take place for four weeks.

According to the Department of Foreign Affairs, the EU NAVFOR Somalia Operation Atalanta transferred the five suspects to Seychellois authorities after responding to piracy attacks on April 21 last year.

The suspects were transported by Spanish flagship ESPS Navarra and transferred to Seychellois authorities in accordance with a transfer agreement between the Seychelles and the European Union with support from UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC).

According to the EU NAVFOR, the incident began on April 19 when five suspected pirates captured a Yemeni dhow off the coast of Somalia. Two days later the pirates attacked the Korean fishing vessel Adria with the dhow acting as a mothership in the Indian Ocean some 280 nautical miles off the coast of Somalia.

On April 23, the EU NAVFOR‘s flagship ESPS NAVARRA successfully intercepted and boarded the captured dhow vessel and apprehended the five suspected pirates.

The forces said that this is the first notable piracy incident event since October 2018.

“This incident clearly demonstrates that piracy and armed robbery at sea, off the coast of Somalia, has not been eradicated,” said operation commander Rear Admiral Antonio Martorell.

He added that “the need for a strong maritime security presence in the High-Risk Area remains critical for the deterrence and prevention of future incidents and attacks.”

Aside from the five Somalis awaiting trial, there is one Somali national serving a prison sentence in the Seychelles’ prison facility.

Seychelles, an archipelago in the western Indian Ocean, is east of the Somali coast and has placed itself at the forefront of the fight against piracy since 2005. The island nation since then has been working with international partners to apprehend and prosecute suspected Somali pirates.


Yemen coastguard see uptick in seizures of arms smuggled to Houthis

Hind Al Soulia – Riyadh – Yemen’s coastguard recently found sacks of AK-47 ammunition hidden on a trading vessel shortly followed on another operation by discovering 40 kilos of cocaine. All the shipments were headed to rebel-controlled areas of the war-torn country and come as a result of efforts to control violations of a UN arms embargo.

Col Abduljabar Zahzooh, who leads Yemen’s coastguard in the Red Sea, told The National the raid last Thursday that uncovered the hidden ammunition was the fourth time they’ve uncovered such illicit cargo in just the last few months.

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Yemen seizes boat loaded with weapons in Red Sea

Saeed Al-Batati

AL-MUKALLA: Yemen coastguards in the Red Sea have seized a boat loaded with three tons of ammunition, as the country intensifies sea patrols to intercept Iranian weapon shipments to the Houthis.

A local security official said a coast guard vessel on Thursday stopped a boat sailing inside Yemeni waters near Perim Island.

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ECSA: Extension of EU NAVFOR Operation Atalanta vital for maritime security

In a letter to the EU High Representative Josep Borrell Fontelles, ECSA underlined the need for an extension to the current mandate and the continued European leadership in maintaining maritime security through EU NAVFOR Operation Atalanta.

“The EU has shown strong leadership in enhancing the security of ships transiting the Gulf of Aden and the Somali Basin – through which 20% of global trade passes – by the establishment of Operation Atalanta in 2008,” wrote Martin Dorsman, ECSA Secretary General. “From the heights of piracy in the region in 2010, the Operation and associated measures have proven to be effective deterrents – achieving several years of strong curtailment.”

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Maritime security can help resolve the Mozambique insurgency

Mozambique Channel

by Timothy Walker

Over recent months the bloody insurgency in the northern Mozambique province of Cabo Delgado has taken an unprecedented maritime turn. If it worsens, it could have profound socio-economic and security implications for Southern Africa.

The Islamic State-inspired Ahlu-Sunnah Wal Jama’at (Al-Sunnah) has been attacking Cabo Delgado inhabitants since 2017, killing over 1,000 people to date. Al-Sunnah has launched frequent attacks on coastal villages, and used coordinated landward and amphibious attacks when it recaptured the coastal town of Mocímboa da Praia in June. This showed the insurgents that attacking from the sea was a viable option, as the risk of being intercepted by Mozambique’s maritime security actors is low.

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Iran denies US seizure of Iranian arms on way to Houthis in Yemen

Iran on Thursday denied that US forces had seized a boat carrying Iranian weapons to Houthi rebels in Yemen, saying the charge was aimed at extending a UN arms embargo on Tehran.

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said in Washington on Wednesday that US and unidentified allied forces had interdicted a vessel off Yemen’s coast on June 28 that was carrying Iranian arms to the Houthis.

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Saudi-led coalition in Yemen says explosive-laden boats destroyed

File image of suspected Houthi SVBIED (boat bomb), via

Coalition says two boats belonged to the Houthis and were threatening navigation, according to Saudi’s SPA news agency.

The Saudi-led military coalition fighting the Houthi group in Yemen has destroyed two explosive-laden boats in the Red Sea on Thursday, the coalition’s spokesperson said.

The two remotely controlled boats belonged to Houthi forces and were threatening navigation, according to the spokesperson’s statement carried on Saudi state news agency SPA.

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Yemen Fishermen Ensnared in Diplomatic Spat

Mohammed Sayers

Disagreements over Red Sea islands and fishing rights once thought to have been settled with Eritrea flare anew

Nadeem Al-Rabas, 26, embarked on March 17 with a group of fellow Yemeni fishermen to work the country’s territorial waters, only to be arrested by the Eritrean coast guard. It was his second arrest at the hands of Eritrean authorities.

Rabas, who tells The Media Line he knows nothing other than fishing, says his mother suffered a heart attack when he was first arrested, in August 2017, by Eritrean military forces for what they said was a violation of Eritrean fishing laws.

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Is it the End of the Road for India in the Enrica Lexie Incident?

Although the legal phase of the matter is over, the Indian government should continue to exercise diplomatic pressure on Italy.

Jay Manoj Sanklecha

The award of the ad-hoc arbitral tribunal constituted under Annex VII of the United Nations Convention on the Law of Sea (UNCLOS), only the operative portions of which were publicly released last week, appears to have brought to an end, an eight year long tussle between New Delhi and Rome on the exercise of criminal jurisdiction over two Italian marines accused of manslaughter.

As many would remember, on February 15, 2012, two Italian marines Sgt. Massimiliano Latorre and Sgt. Salvatore Girone, deployed on board an oil tanker MV Enrica Lexie flying the Italian flag en route from Sri Lanka to Egypt, at roughly 20.5 nautical miles off the Indian coast, opened fire, killing two Indian fisherman on board an Indian vessel St. Antony after claiming to have mistaken them for pirates.

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Italian Marines ‘entitled To Immunity’ In India Shooting: Tribunal

The Hague, (APP – UrduPoint / Pakistan Point News – 2nd Jul, 2020 ) :Two Italian marines accused of killing two Indian fishermen in 2012 were entitled to immunity from prosecution, a tribunal ruled Thursday in a case that poisoned ties between the two countries.

The Permanent Court of Arbitration (PCA) in The Hague said it had decided by three votes to two “that the Marines are entitled to immunity in relation to the acts that they committed during the incident”.

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