On 6 March 2014, during the last port visit of the EU Naval Force Somalia Operation Atalanta flagship, FS Siroco, the Force Commander, Rear Admiral Hervé Bléjean was invited to brief Seychellois government and administration representatives and diplomats on the EU’s counter piracy operation.
The event was hosted by the EU presidency representative to the Seychelles, Ambassador HE Genevieve Iancu.
Rear Admiral Bléjean present to the audience the results and prospects of Operation Atalanta. During his intervention, he underlined the EU comprehensive approach against Somali based piracy and saluted the Republic of Seychelles for their staunch contribution in the fight against piracy.
Five suspected pirates, detained by FS Siroco were handed over for prosecution to Seychelles in January. The Seychelles Police arrested them on arrival and the courts currently hold those men on remand. This is one further example for the long lasting cooperation between the EU Naval Force and the Republic of Seychelles, marked also by the transfer agreement with the EU from 30 October 2009. The agreement allows Operation Atalanta to bring suspect pirates before the Seychelles courts.
It is the EU Naval Force policy to always seek a legal finish where possible.
Force Commander Rear Admiral Bléjean said on this occasion: “This country may be small by its population, but huge by its commitment against piracy – the Seychelles willingness to prosecute pirates is a key factor for current counter-piracy achievements.”
The French warship Siroco left her home port Toulon on 18 November 2013 to join Operation Atalanta on 6 December. FS Siroco is the third EU Naval Force flagship under French command since the operation started in 2008.
Press Release, March 13, 2014, 2014; Image: EU Navfor