(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.