afrol News, 13 July - The Seychelles islands, which estimates it is losing 4 percent of GDP due to piracy from far away Somalia, has grouped affected national, regional and international stakeholders to lead the fight against piracy.
During a two-day international symposium in Seychelles concluded today, government presented the "Seychelles Comprehensive Maritime Security Plan of Action," which sees the small island nation taking a lead in regional efforts to stop Somali piracy.
Foreign Affairs Minister Jean-Paul Adam was able to gather support for the plan from Seychellois stakeholders, East African countries affected by the violence stemming from Somalia and international agencies and Western donor nations, all pledging support to efforts to re-establish the rule of law in the Indian Ocean region.
The Seychelles maritime security plan outlined the three most pressing issues as being: improving maritime security and surveillance; securing the framework that will bring prosecutions and enforce the law of the sea; and boosting the capacity of Somalia itself to play a part in preventing piracy.
"Piracy is a threat that is spreading rapidly across the region and it was clear that all participants understood that this was not Seychelles' fight alone but a fight for all the international community, especially as the suspected link between piracy and other illegal activities, such as terrorism, becomes a real possibility," said Seychelles Home Minister Joel Morgan.
Foreign Minister Adam made sure to secure international support for Seychelles action plan, as the small nation with a vast maritime territory could not lead the fight against Somali pirates alone. "We are very much aware that the solution to piracy does not lie with any one nation or organisation, nor is there a singular remedy," he told delegates.
Seychelles President James Michel outlined how much Somali piracy is costing the small nation, which is a major Indian Ocean tourism destination.
According to President Michel, Seychelles in 2009 at least lost 4 percent of its GDP to piracy. At the same time, national insurance costs had surged by some 50 percent and port and fisheries revenues had dropped by an estimated 30 percent.
"We are spending over euro 2.3 million per year on our anti-piracy patrols and surveillance," explained President Michel. Despite limited capacity to secure its 1.3 million square kilometres ocean territory, around the clock patrols by the Seychellois coast guard and international partners were now improving security.
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