Seychelles has signed a Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA) with Denmark on November 18, 2011 in New York on the sidelines of the meeting of the Working Group II (Legal) of the CGPCS (Contact Group on Piracy off the Coast of Somalia).
Seychelles Attorney General, Mr. Ronny Govinden, signed the document on behalf of Seychelles with the Danish representative, Ambassador Thomas Winkler, Under Secretary for Legal Affairs of the Danish Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
The objective of the SOFA is to provide a legal framework for the operation of the Danish Armed Forces in the Seychelles territory or waters in connection with anti-piracy operations.
It may be recalled that early this year a Memorandum of Understanding was signed with Denmark on the transfer of suspected Somali pirates and armed robbers caught in Seychelles’ waters for prosecution in Seychelles. The SOFA would further the objectives and purposes of that MoU.
“The signing of this SOFA with Denmark is one more important step for Seychelles in the deterrence and prevention of acts of piracy in our waters through improved cooperation with our international allies,” said Minister Joel Morgan, adding that, “The improved coordination of international maritime operations with countries such as Denmark is steadily putting more pressure on pirates at sea and is lessening their chances of successful attacks.”
Denmark is also currently in the process of deploying an aircraft to be based in Seychelles for marine surveillance as part of the fight against piracy.
Seychelles has to date signed four SOFAs with the United States of America, the European Union, France, and now Denmark. The three latter agreements are currently pending approval by the National Assembly.