Who Are The Pirates Somalis Or Seychellois?
Robbers target at least three yachts in the SeychellesOn 11 August, the counter-piracy Combined Task Force (CTF) 151 conducted a joint operation in the Somali Basin aimed at strengthening international cooperation in preventing piracy and illegal trade in the region. The exercise involved both military and non-military authorities from Pakistan, South Korea, Spain, USA and Japan, who took part in the operation that also extended to the Gulf of Aden and the Gulf of Oman. The operations indicate that, although levels of piracy have reduced in the region since the peak of activity in 2012, the threat remains of real concern on an international level.
Two late reports were received this week regarding robberies in the Seychelles. On 21 July at 0300 hrs local time, an unknown number of robbers boarded an anchored sailing yacht, Ceilydh, in Victoria Harbour, Seychelles. The robbers swam to the yacht, boarded and stole personal electronic items, a small amount of cash and the yacht’s dinghy, which was tied alongside. The robbers used the stolen dinghy to board another yacht which was anchored nearby and stole additional personal electronic items and jewellery. The dinghy was later found abandoned on a nearby beach. On 24 July, a sailing yacht, SY Imagine, was boarded by two robbers while anchored off Eden Island, Victoria, Seychelles. The yacht owner fired a flare to try and discourage the robbers. However, one robber took a second flare and fired it into the yacht cabin, starting a small fire. The yacht owner threatened the robbers with a machete and the robbers attacked the owner’s wife with a broom handle. The robbers escaped with a few personal items.
These are the first reported cases of robberies against maritime targets in the Seychelles. Since the beginning of the piracy crisis in the High Risk Area, the Seychelles has gone to considerable lengths to protect its tourism and fishing industries, and it is possible these incidents will prove to be isolated incidents of localised criminality aimed only at wealthy pleasure boat owners. Nonetheless, vessels should ensure crew are alert to these break-ins while the criminals remain at large.