This week six suspected Somali pirates were transferred by EUNAVFOR officials to the Seychelles to stand trial – the first such transfer of piracy suspects to the country since 2014. The suspects were apprehended by an Italian navy frigate, ITS Virginio Fasan, after they attacked a Seychelles-flagged 52,000-tonne container ship and a fishing vessel in the Southern Somali Basin on 17 and 18 November.
The well organised but unsuccessful attack is a reminder that Somali pirates still possess the intent and capability to launch attacks against large merchant vessels. It is also a reminder of the importance of building sustainable security structures and capacity ashore in Somalia and the wider region as well as maintaining international counter-piracy naval forces and Best Management Practices.
As the research conducted by SAFE SEAS illustrates, maritime capacity building efforts need better coordination to achieve synergies, avoid duplication and ensure the sustainability of the assistance provided. A core output of the SAFE SEAS project will be a book that studies recent attempts of restructuring maritime security sectors in the Western Indian Ocean region. This resource will have particular relevance for practitioners on how maritime security can be organized and what lessons can be drawn on in the programming, design and implementation of maritime security capacity building.