- The High-Level Committee on piracy set up by President James Michel has recommended the deployment of troops on to outer islands as a precautionary measure in view of the increased frequency of attacks in the Indian Ocean region around and within the Seychelles exclusive economic zone.
According to a statement from the office of the presidency in Seychelles, the security initiative was presented to the Commander-in-Chief, President Michel, who approved the immediate deployment of the Seychelles Peoples Defence Forces to the islands to the north and south of Mahé.
The Minister Joel Morgan, who is also the Head of the High-Level Committee on Piracy has stressed that troops are being deployed strictly as a precautionary measure.
"The SPDF will act as a deterrent force to any approaching pirate vessels, and our forces will compliment the coordinated response of the Seychelles and international naval forces in the region," said Minister Morgan.
Minister Morgan also noted that the Seychelles Exclusive Economic Zone has 1.4 million sq km of ocean and that for this reason it was a greater challenge to guarantee the security of Seychelles' waters alone.
"We have appreciated the strong support from all our international partners that have sought to assist us with patrol and surveillance of the zone," said Mr Morgan, further noting that the United States and the European Union had stationed maritime patrol aircraft in Seychelles, and that the Seychelles Coast Guard was working closely with the naval forces in the region.
The new SPDF security initiative follows a pirate attack today that took place in Seychelles waters.
The Seychelles Coast Guard has confirmed that the Panama-flagged cargo vessel MV Al Khaliq was captured by Somali pirates 180 nautical miles west of Mahé.
According to reports, the 180-metre long MV Al Khaliq made a distress call to the SCG at 10:00am today, saying that they were under attack. They said that some of the crew had been imprisoned in a room , some had resisted the pirates and gunfire and fighting ensued. Communication with the vessel was then interrupted and cut off.
There are 26 crew members onboard, with 24 Indian and 2 Burmese men.
The MV Al Khaliq was seen by the SCG plane heading towards the coast of Somalia.
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