Commander CTF 151 Rear Admiral Oğuz Karaman reinforced the commitment that the Republic of Seychelles have made as a partner nation to Combined Maritime Forces by meeting with Government officials and Defence personnel in Victoria on the Island of Mahé on 23rd November 2012.

The Seychelles became the latest  member of CMF in September 2012. Rear Admiral Karaman took the opportunity during the Turkish Navy flagship TCG Gemlik’s port visit to personally thank Seychelles for their ongoing support to the Seychelles-based Maritime Patrol and Reconnaissance Aircraft (MPRA) and provide an update to the current status of piracy in the region.

Commander CTF151 Rear Admiral Oquz Karaman Turkish Navy (left) meets Chief of Staff of the Seychelles Peoples Defennce Force, Colonel Clifford Roseline (centre) and Lt Colonel Georges Adeline of the Seychelles Coast Guard.

Rear Admiral Karaman discussed the pleasing reduction in piracy-related attacks citing come contributing factors such as the improvement in the situation in Somaliland, the continued military presence and coordination with regional nations and other Task Forces and the adoption of best management practices by merchant vessels.

“Our assessment is that the level of piracy-related attacks is going down.  But we cannot be complacent in monitoring of the situation.  We need to continue our careful coordination with regional nations, Task Forces and the wider maritime community,” Rear Admiral Karaman said.

The visit to Seychelles follows TCG Gemlik’s successful interdiction in which nine suspected Somali pirates were intercepted and disrupted on the 21 November 2012

Ambassador Maurice Loustau-Lalanne, Principal Secretary for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) welcomed the reduced piracy figures agreeing with the factors affecting the rate. He also took the opportunity to reinforce Seychelles strong stance on swiftly prosecuting those people found guilty of piracy-related attacks.

“Here in Seychelles, we send a clear message.  We will deal with the pirates we catch. Under new laws, following a criminal investigation, suspected pirates will be sent in a short time to court, prosecuted and sentenced if we find enough evidence,” Ambassador Loustau-Lalanne said.

The Ambassador said that at present more than 100 convicted Somali pirates are in prison in Seychelles.

Also present at the meeting was the Chief of Staff of the Seychelles People’s Defence Forces (SPDF), Defence Advisor for Government of Seychelles, and Acting Commanding Officer of the Seychelles Coast Guard.