The three pirates who were arrested for hijacking a Sr Lankan fishing vessel and its crew member were handed over to the police upon arrival on Mahe. (Seychelles News Agency)
(Seychelles News Agency) – The piracy situation in the northeast of the Seychelles’ Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) is a bit unstable and local authorities are urging the fishing community to stay closer to the main island of Mahe.
The announcement was made on Thursday morning in a joint press conference of Seychelles Maritime Safety Authority (SMSA), the Seychelles Coast Guard (SCG) and the Seychelles Fishing Authority (SFA).
The director for operations at the Seychelles Coast Guard, Major Hans Radegonde, told reporters that they received reports that piracy had started again in the region since late last year.
The islands that have been affected are Denis Island and North Island – found in the north of the Seychelles EEZ of 1.4 million square kilometres.
“We are closely monitoring the situation in that area, and should it worsen, we will inform people,” he added.
In addition to the Seychelles Defence Forces, others who have been working with the island nation in the western Indian Ocean are also helping such as the EU-NAVFOR’s Atalanta Operation.
Radgonde said, “The patrols have not increased in the area, but so far we have managed to speak to six to seven boats we found fishing in the area, warning them to move closer to Mahe.”
While the authorities are monitoring the situation, SMSA has published notices in the local newspapers to inform people of what is going on and advising them to be cautious.
“We are asking fishermen to call the SFA when they are leaving for their fishing trips and also asking them to leave their VTS [Vessel Traffic Services] on,” said Roddy Allisop, monitoring and surveillance manager from SFA.
Captain Gerald Wong-Pool from Seychelles Defence Forces (SDF) also informed the press “that work was underway to also ensure that Seychelles receives help in this situation as per the various agreements it has with different foreign entities.”
The announcement comes the same week that the Seychelles Coast Guard rescued six Sri Lankan fishermen, who were held hostage by Somali pirates. The fishermen and three pirates, who were arrested, arrived on Mahe on Wednesday morning.