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By Rassin Vannier
Victoria, Seychelles – Seychelles recently hosted a ministerial meeting on maritime security in Africa, bringing together all stakeholders in the fight against this crime.
This subject concerns the Seychelles directly, as the country has suffered pirate attacks in the region.
Seychelles was among the first countries in the region to lead the fight against this scourge, hosting on its soil responsible for the attacks, to try them.
France was represented at the meeting by Véronique Roger-Lacan, Special Representative in charge of the international fight against maritime piracy.
SNA met Mrs. Roger Lacan to know the role of France in the fight against piracy in the Indian Ocean and other regions of Africa.
When we look at the figures of the attacks of piracy, 0 this year, last year 1 or 2, do you think this is the end of piracy off the Horn of Africa?
There was actually observed in 2013 and in 2014, no attack succeeds. And is that this is a trend which is final or is that piracy risk again. What is certain is that the intense naval presence, both multinational naval 3: Operation Atalanta, Operation Ocean Shield and NATO combat forces operation 151, have had a real impact.Because they have created the “International reconnu corridor” corridor. This corridor was squared and in each grid, we installed a warship. Had more national naval operations; Russia, Japan, Korea, China, India,
In any case for China and India, they have not squared, maisont process escort. They followed vessels flying the flag of their country down the corridor …
Now, is this going to change, is that the international community has the means and the will to maintain warships, they are expensive means. In the region, it is called defense budget and resources to develop such capacities so we measure how they are expensive to maintain capacity. Are we going to maintain these capabilities with the same grid or not, for the moment the EU and NATO have renewed the mandate of operations until 2016, so it is there, and during those days where we will observe the tendency to see if the actions will start or not. Then on this trend, we have two types of analysis:
– The first type of analysis observes that these piracy sponsors benefited also that these funds they collected to acquire new skills, new boats means of communication, the logical conclusion would be to say that they are getting ready to resume operations
– Other analyzes say they have enough money and invested in other activities and also the Somali government is trying to finish preparing the elections is just finishing writing would prepare need to get these people that they cease their activities, otherwise the overall disapproval will continue to manifest itself with regard to Somalia. And we feel that the Somali government wants to make sure that its people are its territory his nation a nation that really is part of the international arena and that Somalia is not matched to shebab and sponsors of piracy, so we rely heavily on the commitment of the Somali authorities to address this issue
Is currently, it has not changed at piracy in the Horn of Africa to become the fight against crime (drugs, illegal fishing)
It has not changed, because unfortunately, the drug trade, trafficking have always existed, but it is true that today the attention is now being paid (now that the issue of piracy is a little more stable), it is true that the eyes are closer to other traffic. They look especially towards other traffic that the question arises about the sponsors of piracy. These sponsors of piracy that have won a lot of money over the years that have kept the crews hostage, hostages in boats and the life price these people have earned a lot of money.
The question is to know where they are, what they do and they will resume or not to act. They are calm since 2013-2014, what do they do?
They know that we know and we know they have invested in legal companies; real estate, small airlines, distribution, but also in illegal activities. And so it is correct to ask yourself this question. Traffic of all kinds: livestock, charcoal, drug humans armament. It is true that this area is a large traffic area. So we are absolutely aware and willing to do so that the region can deal with this one. And we know that Seychelles has developed a great expertise in that area and it is possible that Africa is needed, and this is specified in its maritime security strategy called AIM2050 she need for capacity, piping operations on this type of traffic. And if Seychelles wished with all the expertise they have developed to engage in that path. It would be a possibility and I think a lot of African States in any case of East Africa and the international community are very satisfied with this type of development.
When you say that the work is not finished with the Seychelles, you’re implying that because France had already announced plans to retire.
So it is not only with the Seychelles, it is with the whole region, you yourself should mention maritime crime as a whole, we just talk about building regional capacity for safety and maritime security, is all that is being done. And we also see that the Indian Ocean community with the anti-piracy unit that is the Seychelles, which brings together liaison officers, members of each country, members of the Indian Ocean Commission. All these organizations, the International Maritime Organization, we are working on building local capacity for this type of management of the maritime domain.
We just renewed the mandate of these operations until 2016 and it’s always the way it worked, renewable two-year terms. So let’s think observing the tendency to see what form should the various operations EUCAP Nestor of the European Union, this mission of building regional safety and security capabilities, the Djibouti Code of Conduct which brings with Seychelles are signatories, all this work is done in the framework of the Committee on the Indian Ocean to the region so that should a crisis arise again this type of region and the states of the region that manage safety and security in their maritime areas within their territorial waters, and are able with other international partners to act in international waters, because it is true that this crisis is precisely what the international community has treated the crisis. The states in the region have no ability to take action on the high seas. That is why we are still called work to do together.
Geneviève IANCU: I just want to add one point to what was said Veronica, but by answering your question directly. There was a newspaper of the place a full page saying that France would withdraw and I think Mr. Vannier was referring to that, Operation Atalanta, which was totally wrong, since France s is never removed, I recall that France was at the origin of the idea of this cooperation we then mounted with our European partners and we are among the few European countries to have had on the military area as say 1 5 buildings. So it is sure that when you 5, and all of a sudden you have in 2 or 3 or 4, it is said to France: France withdrew. But compared to what? You have many European states that could send ships and have not done for reasons best known to their financial priorities, budgetary or political.
Piracy is now changing area, an increase in operations there is, but it seems to me that it might be a little more complex in the Gulf of Guinea because there are more countries involved, ie, Perhaps not the source of a single country that attack
It is both more complex and simpler. Simpler because we are dealing with a total area of sovereignty in, Somalia and off the Somali state was qualified bankruptcy and therefore successive resolutions of the Security Council gave permission to naval operations to act in the territorial waters of Somalia. Here we are dealing with sovereign states that the management of their territorial waters and our goal is to support policies that lead to implement themselves resolutions 20180 Security Council and in 2039 were adopted respectively 2011 and 2012 and which called on states in the region to make every effort to address the problem.
Heads of state governments in the Gulf of Guinea met in Yaoundé in June 2013, and adopted a Code of Conduct on the Safety and maritime security in the Gulf of Guinea and under the code of conduct they are committed to taking joint work measures in the field of prevention of this maritime crime in the field of ship management, so the idea that they might be able to set up joint patrols .. .
The question is not simple … The phenomenon is taking momentum, before the pirates were operating mainly in the oil theft in the territorial waters especially Nigeria. There, right before we took the plane to come to the Seychelles, a ship flying the Greek flag was attacked and the second Greek was killed, three other crew members were taken hostage. … That kind of facts is growing.French ourselves we in July 2013, a French flag vessel that was attacked with two members of the French crew who have been taken hostage and we have a naval operation called Corimbe and operating in the area since 1990 and it is this process that was used to rescue the two sailors and release them. So after a week they were released. All that to say that for us French, from the time when we had an attack against a French flag vessel, the French hostages it is a real issue of safety and security for our citizens and our compatriots
Do you believe that other countries in the region can do like the Seychelles or to judge the guilty
Véronique Roger-Lacan :: Other countries in the region have as well. The European Union when it has implemented Atalanta operation against maritime piracy has concluded transfer agreements with Kenya, Tanzania, Seychelles and recently with Mauritius. It is a burden that is shared, but it is true that we must highlight the work that has been done by the Seychelles who did a remarkable job of judicial inquiry on which we must capitalize. For as it is in the Seychelles that the die has been moved to the piracy Sponsors and international arrest warrants were issued against these sponsors.
And this is what is strategic because it is well to judge the pirates that we stop the boats, but we know very well is they labor at cheap sponsors them remain beautiful in their air-conditioned homes and built with ransom money, do not take a risk to their lives and collect the money collected through these young people.
These young people we can say that if they had jobs and an economic future that maybe they would not engage in this type of activity.
Seychelles has therefore done a remarkable job on sponsors and there are other ongoing trials including the sponsor number called Mr. Affouéné is judged at this time in Belgium. And it is important that this work is done then. Because that’s how piracy take an end and that we can move on to another level as that of the management of the crisis.