The Seychelles Minister for Home Affairs, Environment, Transport, and Energy, Mr. Joel Morgan, has announced that the Seychelles government is in support of the proposal for the opening up of an international office on piracy in Seychelles to act as a liaison and coordination center for the region.
Minister Morgan made this announcement at the concluding press conference of the “Piracy: Orchestrating a Response” conference that was held at Le Meridien Barbarons Hotel over the past two days.
The Minister explained that this new initiative follows discussions with representatives from the United Nations Contact Group on Piracy off the Coast of Somalia (CGPCS) and the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) to host the center. He added that the envisioned Maritime Analysis and Operation Centre will also be focused on analysis of other illegal activities other than piracy, such as terrorism and drugs, arms and human trafficking.
“The proposal for this center is a positive outcome of the efforts of President Michel and the government continually pushing the message that more needs to be done about piracy,” said the Minister.
“Seychelles’ leadership and willingness to be at the forefront of this scourge has been duly recognized and our call for more to be done is being responded to,” Minister Morgan added.
The Minister for Foreign Affairs, Mr. Jean-Paul Adam, hailed the conference as a resounding success, clearly demonstrating the need for continuous discussions and collaborations among all willing partners.
Minister Adam said that the three key deliverables emerging from this conference, which brought together partners from governments, international organizations, and various industry leaders, who have been affected by piracy in some shape or form, are:
• better implementation of the laws of the sea;
• greater political will, both for action on land and at sea, both at the level of international organizations and national governments; and
• increased capacity building in coastal states to allow for greater guardianship of the ocean.
The Minister added that in order to ensure continued economic development, unimpeded by the threat of piracy, it is important that partners, particularly those from the tourism, fishing, cargo, and shipping industries, look at all avenues, including better implementation of Best Management Practices, the possibility of private Vessel Protection Detachments (VPDs) and greater national military engagement where possible.
“We also need greater inter-government agreement. Crimes at sea cannot be allowed to exploit a lack of political will,” said Minister Adam.
He added that piracy must continue to be tackled from all aspects, particularly on the financial front and a global commitment to stability in Somalia, stating:
“We need to tackle the financial roots of piracy. Stop the money, stop the crime. We also need to move from a situation where we are not simply ensuring the minimum security necessary to one where we are truly investing in stability in Somalia and its future.”
The conference was organized and hosted jointly by the government of Seychelles and the South Asia and Africa Regional Port Stability Cooperative (SAARPSCO), represented by President and Chief Executive Officer Mr. Hans Niebergall.
The conference brought together government, military, and industry representatives, along with international organizations and security and intelligence experts from around the world. The hosts announced that, given the success of a forum that brought together such diverse groups, the conference would be hosted again next year.