The Republic of Seychelles Court has convicted fifteen Somali pirates in connection with an attack on a merchant ship and the abduction of 13 Iranian fishermen rescued by the U.S. Navy earlier this year.
Reports say the Somali pirates were sentenced to 18-year jail terms in the Indian Ocean nation of Seychelles.
At Washington DC today, Department Spokesperson Victoria Nuland
says the United States welcomes the November 5 sentencing by the Republic of Seychelles to sentence of 15 Somali pirates.
Ms. Nuland reports that the sentencing brings the total number of convicted pirates to 631 of whom 98 in Seychelles alone and with 440 other suspected pirates facing justice in 21 countries, including the United States.
“We appreciate Seychelles’ regional leadership on counter-piracy, as seen in their willingness to prosecute and incarcerate Somali pirates, as well as their hosting of a regional intelligence coordination center to support future piracy prosecutions.” -Ms. Nuland
She stresses that sentencing marks a positive step forward for building a strong and unified international response against piracy originating from Somalia and for promoting freedom of navigation worldwide.
In March this year, Seychelles had accepted 15 Somali pirates from U.S. military costudy for prosecution.
The Somali pirates were allegedly reported to attack a merchant ship and the abduction of 13 Iranian fishermen.
The Iranian fishermen were rescued by the by the U.S. Navy on January 5.
The acceptance of those suspected pirates from the US Forces follows the agreement between President James Michel and the US secretary of state, Hillary Clinton, that the United States would continue to boost Seychelles’ capacity in the battle against piracy.
The United States of America has welcomed the decision by the island nation to accept the captured Somali pirates for prosecution.
Seychelles has offered to host a regional prosecution center, given sufficient prison capacity to imprison convicted pirates, amounting to 20% of its total prison capacity. The crowded prison represents a huge burden on the prison system and restricts Seychelles capacity to incarcerate Somali pirates.
On February 2011, the United Nations launched an action plan to combat piracy off the Somali coast, calling for greater support from national navies to fight a “global menace” that threatens not only international trade but the world body’s delivery of vital food aid to millions of hungry people.
On 2010, 286 piracy-related incidents off the coast of Somalia were reported, resulting in 67 hijacked ships, with 1,130 seafarers on board; while a recent study estimated the cost to the world economy from disruptions to international trade at between $7 billion and $12 billion.