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RAPPIC Steering Group Meet in Dubai: Approves Transition of RAPPIC to a Seychelles Maritime Centre for Security and Transnational Crime in the Western Indian Ocean

17.09.2013

Ministry of Home Affairs and Transport

PRESS RELEASE

The Minister for Home Affairs and Transport, Mr. Joël Morgan, in his capacity as Chairman of the RAPPICC Steering Group, which sees Seychelles, the United Kingdom, the Kingdom of Netherlands, Australia and the United States of America, as signed partners to the RAPPICC, convened a meeting on the 11th of September 2013, prior to the Dubai anti piracy conference,  in order for the partners to review the financial records of the centre for the year and as well to discuss proposed changes to the mandate of the centre.

Members present after receiving briefs by the co- directors of RAPPICC, namely Mr. Gary Crone and Mr. Declan Barber, were invited to comment on the proposed plan for the current RAPPICC to evolve into a national  centre to share and coordinate information on maritime security and transnational crime within the Western Indian Ocean.

It is important to note that the final communiqué from the third high level public private anti-piracy conference held under the patronage of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the United Arab Emirates, in Dubai, between the 11th and 12th September 2013, mentioned specifically the critical role that the RAPPICC has played  against piracy in the region,  said in part, “ The importance of information sharing and transnational cooperation on the criminal investigation of piracy, especially through regional centers such as the Regional Anti-Piracy Prosecutions Intelligence Coordination Center (RAPPICC) in the Seychelles is critical to deterring, disrupting and prosecuting those responsible for and profiting from piracy,”  adding, “ The RAPPICC initiative represents a significant building block in creating a sound regional criminal justice framework in which a stabilized Somalia can thrive.”

“It is important for us to build upon the successes of the RAPPICC, driven in no small part by the contributions by each of the partners who came together, adding their expertise to make RAPPICC what it is today,” said the chairman, Minister Joël Morgan, adding , “ we acknowledge as well that as measures to combat the scourge of piracy in this region becomes more successful, this by less and less successful actions by pirate groups against merchant vessels, that criminal gangs will and have shifted their resources and attention to other activities: human  trafficking, arms trafficking, drug smuggling and trade, smuggling of other natural resources, or money laundering  within the Western Indian Ocean, operating in a transnational manner in order to evade capture and prosecution.

The infrastructure in place in RAPPICC is therefore prepared to evolve to take on these changes in criminal activities that plague and concern the region while at the same time not losing its focus on the continued threats that piracy poses even as those same gangs redeploy and engage in different tactics to threaten the economic livelihood of so many.  We must as well not lose sight that many victims still remain hostage and that those who finance these illegal acts must not go unpunished.”

Following the presentation and proposal submitted for consideration and having no other business the members present voted in unanimity to support the transition of the RAPPICC to a national center in the Seychelles to engage in and tackle the growing menace of transnational criminal activity in the Western Indian Ocean.

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