Her Royal Highness The Princess Royal, Princess Anne, commended the efforts of all those involved in helping to combat piracy in Seychelles during visits made today to meet representatives from the EU Naval Force (EUNAVFOR) and the Seychelles Coastguard.
Following the Royal Party’s return from Praslin, where they met members of the local community and visited the Vallee de Mai, The Princess and Vice Admiral Laurence were accompanied by Minister for Home Affairs, Environment and Transport, Mr. Joel Morgan, and the British High Commissioner, Mr. Mathew Forbes, to a purpose-built EUNAVFOR aircraft hangar at Seychelles International Airport.
“EUNAVFOR is very honored to welcome today Her Royal Highness The Princess Royal and Vice Admiral Laurence as part of their visit to Seychelles. Seychelles is one of our most important partners in the region, and we’re proud of the work we’re doing together to fight against the piracy threat in the Indian Ocean. I am working hand to hand with the Seychelles Coastguard to ensure our forces operate jointly every day when in the vicinity of the Archipelago,” said Lieutenant Commander Richard Sturman.
On arrival, the Royal Party was given a briefing on EUNAVFOR’s operations by Luc Audoore Detachment Commander (EUNAVFOR Luxembourg Detachment) outlining the cooperation between the EU nations and Seychelles to combat piracy. The briefing included details of the joint EUNAVFOR/Seychelles operation to rescue seven Seychelles fishermen on November 19 and 20.
“Today we had the chance to visit the joint facilities at the airport that EUNAVFOR have, and The Princess Royal had the opportunity to see for herself the types of work done and how the element of air surveillance contributes to the overall efforts against piracy. I think she has gained a greater understanding of the entire work done, which involves a very close partnership between the Seychelles Peoples Defence Forces and EUNAVFOR,” said Minister Morgan.
So far this year, EUNAVFOR has disrupted 62 Pirate Action Groups. In addition, 11 Somali pirates who were transferred by EUNAVFOR under the standing agreement were recently sentenced to 6 years each by the Seychelles Court.
British High Commissioner, Matthew Forbes said:
“Fighting piracy is a common concern where matters of nationality or territory are immaterial to the pirate who seeks only economic gain at the economic and humanitarian expense of others. Our nations are working hard together to deter these criminals. The visit today by Her Royal Highness to meet those whose job it is to protect us, demonstrates how seriously she and Vice Admiral Laurence value their work and recognize the united efforts of the international community to stop this ocean banditry.”
The delegation also met informally with other personnel before journeying on to visit Seychelles Coastguard headquarters.
On arrival, they were given a detailed briefing outlining the important role that the Seychelles Coastguard plays in fighting piracy, which was followed by a tour of the base where they were able to view various skiffs and “mother ships” that had been captured from pirates during the course of their interceptions.
The Princess and Vice Admiral Lawrence also toured the Coastguard patrol boats including the “Fortune,” which was donated by the British government earlier this year to support the Coastguard’s monitoring and surveillance efforts.