Republic of Seychelles Conviction of Pirates

Press Statement
Victoria Nuland
Department Spokesperson
Office of the Spokesperson
Washington, DC
November 7, 2012

We welcome the November 5 sentencing by the Republic of Seychelles of 15 in connection with an attack on a merchant ship and the abduction of 13 Iranian fishermen rescued by the U.S. Navy. This sentencing brings the total number of convicted pirates to 631 – 98 in Seychelles alone – 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. The 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.

Counter Piracy: Global Community Gathers to Take Action

Somali government coast guards patrol the coast of Mogadishu, Somalia to keep a watch for pirates who hijack ships off the coast, Dec. 6, 2009. [AP File Photo]

About the Author: Thomas P. Kelly serves as Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Political-Military Affairs.

In March, the United States turned over to the Republic of Seychelles 15 suspected Somali pirates for prosecution in connection with an attempted January 5 attack on the M/V Sunshine in the northern Arabian Sea and the abduction of 13 Iranian mariners rescued by the U.S. Navy aboard their captured fishing vessel Al Molai. The successful resolution of this incident marks another step forward in working with our international partners to see that pirates are brought to justice and underscores our ongoing commitment to promoting freedom of navigation worldwide.

As part of the United States’ commitment to working with the international community in countering piracy, I traveled last week to New… more »

Assistant Secretary of State for Political-Military Affairs Andrew Shapiro testifies before the House Committee on Foreign Affairs’ Subcommittee on Terrorism, Nonproliferation, and Trade Hearing on “Confronting Global Piracy,” June 15, 2011.

Bringing Pirates to Justice
U.S. Navy & Coast Guard team searches vessel in Gulf of Aden, Oct. 15, 2009. [DOD/ U.S. Navy Photo]

About the Author: Jennifer Landsidle is an Attorney-Adviser in the Department’s Office of the Legal Adviser.

The United States has long recognized that any effective strategy against piracy off the coast of Somalia must include a plan to ensure that those who commit acts of piracy are held accountable for their actions. Secretary Clinton has called for a comprehensive review of our counter-piracy strategy and one key aspect of that policy review is enhancing our ability to prosecute and incarcerate pirates.

Today, almost 1,000 suspected Somali pirates detained by international naval patrols are in custody in 18 states around the world. This includes 28 suspects brought to the United States for prosecution in U.S. courts for attacks on U.S. vessels. Despite these efforts, we continue to face a number of challenges that hinder our ability to bring pirates to justice. In response,… more »

United Arab Emirates: Forging a Common Approach to Maritime Piracy

Dubai Marina Towers in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, June 2, 2008. [AP Photo]

About the Author: Donna Hopkins serves as Coordinator for Counter-Piracy and Maritime Security in the Department’s Bureau of Political-Military Affairs

World renowned as a global commerce hub, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) is among the growing community of nations, international organizations, and industry groups coming together to confront pirate gangs based out of Somalia targeting seafarers in the Arabian Sea, Gulf of Aden, and surrounding waters. 

I recently returned from Dubai, where I attended the conference: “Global Threat, Regional Responses: Forging a Common Approach to Maritime Piracy.” Hosted by the UAE’s Foreign Ministry and co-organized by global ports operator DP World, the conference was attended by government officials from 60 countries and more than 170 senior maritime industry leaders. The event underscored the importance of further strengthening counter-piracy partnerships between governments and industry and succeeded in raising nearly $5 million for a UN-administered fund to support prosecution… more »

By: U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for Political-Military Affairs Andrew J. Shapiro 

I recently traveled to Djibouti, Kenya and the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) with Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense Vicki Huddleston and representatives from the U.S. Africa Command (AFRICOM), and a colleague from the Department’s Bureau of African Affairs. This was the first trip to the region by an Assistant Secretary for Political-Military Affairs in at least the last 10 years, and a unique opportunity to see first-hand much of the assistance we have provided to the region. My visit reinforced to me the importance of the efforts of the Bureau of Political-Military Affairs in Eastern and Central Africa to train peacekeepers, combat piracy, support military reform, and eliminate excessive quantities of small-arms. These security assistance programs, overseen by our Bureau, support the State Department’s mission to promote stability and good governance and set the stage for humanitarian aid and development…