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Address by Minister Joel Morgan at the Dubai Anti-Piracy Conference on the 11th September 2013


Speech to Dubai Conference

By the Seychelles RAPPICC

[Strategic Problem 1    Extra-regional Dependency]

The international response to Somali piracy has been largely driven and resourced from outside of the region.  As serious security problems emerge in other parts of the globe, regional states and stakeholders are highly vulnerable to the arbitrary reduction or removal of critical components of that response by external decision-makers. International actors and the regional states need to pursue a strategy that transitions this high level of dependency on external actors to a new point of equilibrium which maintains external support but with more self-reliance rather than over-dependency.


[Strategic Problem 2 – Military Centric]

But the required transition is not simply one of shifting the center of gravity of the geographic ownership.  The international response to Somali piracy could be considered to have been primarily oriented towards the use of maritime force at the expense of resourcing the breaking up of the organization of the criminal enterprise of piracy.  So our transition also requires a shift in paradigm from a military-centric anti-piracy solution to a cohesive military/law enforcement/industry maritime solution the ultimate aim being the rule of law in the maritime space.


[Strategic Problem 3  -  Maritime Crime as a Globalized Phenomenon]


Thirdly, it is important to recognize that the value of effective maritime security in the region is not simply an issue for regional states. Maritime criminal activity is largely driven by external forces and is inextricably linked with crime and security risks in other parts of the world. As such, it requires both a regional and a global response. Any regional maritime crime and security solution must of necessity benefit from extra-regional intelligence to optimize interdiction at regional level, and reciprocally, investigative outputs derived from the interdiction should be shared outside of the region so that the global organization of crimes can be targeted. Asymmetric reciprocity


So what is our Aim?


Our aim must be to transition to a regionally sustainable maritime security solution, which integrates military, law enforcement and industry at the strategic and operational levels, so that we can achieve the  coordination of regional authorities with international partners in the deterrence, detection, interdiction, investigation and prosecution of unlawful acts in the region’s maritime space.


Before we try and operationalise this strategy, let us consider briefly some of the key learnings from our recent counter-piracy experience. These lessons learned include, inter alia:


  1. the value of closer cooperation between the military, law enforcement and industry


  1. the fundamental importance of maritime domain awareness in general for situational awareness in particular;


  1. the premium on intelligence-led operations in a maritime space of such scale;


  1. the importance of support for national prosecutors and judicial arbitration in navigating the mesh of legal instruments, bilateral agreements and domestic laws in any single instance of investigation and prosecution;


and last but not least,


  1. the critical importance of  the operational coordination of tactical maritime and investigative capacities to achieving overall strategic success.




There have been problems and I wish to focus on one:


Broadly speaking, the international military response to piracy has been effective in dramatically reducing the risk of piracy at the tactical level. Particularly impressive has been their agile adaptation to constabulary tasks.  Law enforcement has also demonstrated that it can be effective at the tactical level as witnessed by the systematic exploitation of information and evidence from

  • suspects pirate detentions at sea and transfers to regional states
  • prosecution of pirates by regional states and others
  • released vessels treated scenes of crime scenes,
  • the sympathetic de-briefing of released hostages


[Operational Problem – KEY -  lack of Ops LE Coordination]

A noticeable weakness in the international response, however, has been that no law enforcement coordination mechanism equivalent to the maritime SHADE mechanism has been established within the region, either for transnational investigative coordination or for interfacing with military information exchange mechanisms, such as SHADE. This problem has been exacerbated by the reluctance of the victims (i.e. private industry) to share evidence and the reluctance of states to invoke jurisdiction over piracy cases. The result has been a critical strategic failure :-  – only a limited subset of the pirates detained at sea have been prosecuted and all of the organizers and financiers of piracy remain at liberty in their communities.


And this is critical … you see … just as operationally coordinated tactical military successes at sea deter and disrupt maritime piracy, operationally coordinated investigations can successfully target piracy organizers, financiers and their assets and thus deter and disrupt the broader enterprise of piracy… and its deterrent and disruptive value may be a lot more cost-effective and may persist well beyond the withdrawal of the international maritime forces.

So finally, how might we to operationalize our strategy?

Well the evolving Seychelles RAPPICC is a good example aimed at redressing this imbalance.  The RAPPICC is part of a wider Maritime Crime Fusion Centre hosted in Seychelles, aimed at providing services made possible by an integrated military/law enforcement/industry approach with the overall mission of reducing the region’s reliance on external capacities and mechanisms.

It has three parts: an information-sharing part, a transnational organized crime prosecutions part and a capacity building part.



1. A Maritime Trade Information Sharing Centre (MTISC-IO)

A critical contributory factor in the emergence of Somali piracy was the absence of regional maritime domain awareness to tackle issues of  illegal fisheries, illegal dumping, smuggling and earlier manifestations of piracy. This lack of regional maritime domain awareness further diluted the effectiveness of already limited regional maritime resources.

MTISC proposes a regional fusion centre for industry, military and law enforcement data at the operational level to provide regional maritime domain awareness and actionable intelligence for maritime interdiction.



2. RAPPICC, the

second operational component of the Seychelles maritime Crime Fusion Centre, is up and running and is already transitioning from exclusively focusing on piracy to a broader transnational crime mission. It has a clear mission to support regional states in the investigation and prosecution of serious organised crime groups of piracy and to work towards the release of hostages by tracking their location and welfare.  It already embodies the key international State and organisational partnerships which can be leveraged by the region to detect and interdict maritime and related crime. Going forward, it will seek to increasingly engage the participation of regional law enforcement agencies and mechanisms, with especial emphasis on organisations such as the East Africa Police Chiefs Cooperation Organisation and the INTERPOL NCB network in the region.


3. Regional-CBCG

The third and fina, and arguably the most important, l operationalisation of our proposed strategy is an improved In-Region Coordination Group for the disparate Capacity Building efforts in Training, Logistics and Operational Planning aimed at maritime Security. Many of the partners are already on the Fusion Centrein Seychelles: UNODC, RAPPICC, INTERPOL and the Indian Ocean Commissions Anti Piracy Unit while others such as the European External Action Service’s EUCAP Nestor Programme are close by. The regional CBCG seeks to coordinate capacity building specifically in those areas that contribute to a strategy of using an integrated military/law enforcement approach to achieve maritime security in the region through the rule of law.



To conclude we need to transition our maritime security response to a regionally-led solution, built on an integrated military/law enforcement and industry approach at the strategic AND operational levels and ultimately aimed , not simply at disruption of piracy at sea,   but at the practical implemention of the rule of law. Rather than a single monolithic fusion centre trying to cover the diversities of the Gulf, East African and west Indian Ocean theatres, the operationalisation of this strategy can best be achieved using a small number of networked, mutually supporting sub- fusion centres differentiated by sub-regional geographies, trade and crime patterns, and each with its own service specialisations. These centres must leverage external partnerships to achieve maximum effect. The transitioning RAPPICC of the Seychelles Fusion Centre in Seychelles represents a dynamic example of the potential of such a solution.

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