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Australia Joins RAPPIC and Signs with Seychelles on Cooperation to Prosecute Suspected Pirates

26.06.2013

Ministry of Home Affairs and Transport

PRESS RELEASE

26th June 2013

 

AUSTRALIA JOINS RAPPICC AND SIGNS WITH SEYCHELLES ON COOPERATION TO PROSECUTE SUSPECTED PIRATES

In the presence of the Minister for Home Affairs and Transport, Mr. Joël Morgan, the Minister for Foreign Affairs, Jean Paul Adam and his Principal Secretary, Ambassador Maurice Loustau Lalanne, the British High Commissioner, Mrs. Lindsay Skoll, members of the crew of the visiting Royal Australian Naval ship, the HMAS Newcastle and other invited guests, the High Commissioner for  the Commonwealth of Australia, Mrs. Sandra Vegting, signed the RAPPICC Partnership Agreement that saw Australia joining the RAPPICC, on Tuesday  25th June 2013 .  By joining RAPPIC, Australia has committed to working with Seychelles and other member countries in intelligence gathering aimed at providing necessary evidence for prosecutions related to piracy activity in both the region and around the world.

Following the signing for the RAPPICC agreement, a Memorandum of Understanding on the Transfer of Suspected Pirates and Armed Robbers was then signed by the Republic of Seychelles and the Commonwealth of Australia, by Minister Joël Morgan signing for the Seychelles and for Australia, its High Commissioner, Mrs. Vegting. The MOU will allow for the transfer of custody of suspected pirates captured by Australian armed forces in the region, to the Seychelles.

The Transfer of Suspected Pirates and Armed Robbers Agreement provides the legal framework for any transfers and allows the Seychelles authorities, upon evaluation of evidence provided by the capturing forces, to accept the detainees for prosecution under Seychelles law or not.

The signing of both the Partnership Agreement for RAPPICC and the Suspected Pirate Transfer Agreement are the result of on-going close cooperation between the two Governments in the area of maritime security, particularly as the two are Indian Ocean states.

After signing the RAPPICC Partnership agreement Minister Morgan said, “Australia’s signing of the Partnership Agreement for RAPPICC is a welcomed and important development, as Australia will bring with it additional resources and expertise that are needed. Together with our other partners in this effort, we welcome Australia into RAPPICC, which we are convinced will continue to grow and develop as we welcome other partners who will join this initiative, thus adding their weight.  As the resources increase, RAPPICC will also grow to take on new challenges that transnational criminal activities may bring to our region and borders.”

Following the signing of the agreement between Seychelles and Australia on the transfer of those suspected of piracy the Minister said, “Australia’s commitment to peace and security in the Indian Ocean is evident in many ways.  Aboard this Australian naval vessel, which is in our waters supporting a greater mission and by the signing of this agreement, we are here united in effort, building on bonds of friendship and cooperation.   To date both of our nations have committed much, and the Seychelles has lost much due to piracy. The signing today confirms our resolve and commitment to see the greater mission through.”

Minister Morgan added that while the number of successful pirate attacks may have declined, it was crucial that Seychelles remained vigilant so as to prevent the scourge of piracy regaining a foothold in the region.

The Minister also explained that thanks to the mechanisms now solidly in place that allow for the transfer of convicted prisoners back to Somalia to serve out their sentences, he was confident that Seychelles could continue to play this vital role and fulfill its obligation to continue in the fight against piracy and protecting those whose livelihoods depend on a secure maritime zone.

“I am delighted to be signing this MOU and RAPPICC Partnership Arrangement today on board Australian warship, HMAS Newcastle that is visiting the Seychelles for this occasion. The humanitarian, security and trade impacts of piracy in the Indian Ocean are a great concern for Australia and the international community, and we believe that the Australian Civilian Corps deployment to the RAPPICC will make a valuable contribution to the high priority objective of combating Indian Ocean Piracy,” said the Australian High Commissioner, Ms. Vegting.

Both agreements were signed on board the visiting Royal Australian Naval vessel, the HMAS Newcastle, which is to depart the Seychelles soon after to continue on her patrol assignments in the region.

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