European Union Ambassador to Tanzania Filiberto Ceriani Sebregondi has urged the government to fast-track approval of a pirates transfer agreement, stressing that the decision will be for the economic, social and political benefit of the country.
The envoy made the call yesterday in Dar es Salaam at a press briefing that aimed to highlight efforts on fighting piracy along the East African coast and humanitarian operations support by the European Union Naval Force (EU NAVFOR) in the region.
“Piracy is the current economic challenge in the region. Tanzania has an important role to play in supporting efforts made by other countries in fighting against pirates. It is wise that the government gets to approve the document as fast as possible,” he said.
He said Seychelles, Kenya and Mauritius had already signed the document to allow pirates to be brought to trial in their mother country.
"The failure in signing the document infringes humanitarian rights of the pirate, cooperation with other countries which have signed already the document and thus limit access to training," he warned.
Earlier, when briefing journalists about the Dutch frigate HNLMS Van Amstel's visit to Tanzania, Commander Hans Veerbeek said joint efforts were seriously needed to work on piracy along the Indian Ocean coast.
He said since the Royal Netherlands Navy contributed a military vessel to Somalia Operation Atalanta, the vessel had escorted two merchant vessels chartered by the World Food Programmme (WFP) destined for the drought and war-stricken Somalia.
“We have been involved in a number of operations to protect ships carrying food aid as well as pursuit and disrupt pirates operating across the Indian Ocean.
"Still we’re involved in training some of the local navies as part of the Operation Atlanta mission,” he said.
The commander advised other vessels ply the Indian Ocean to technically equip themselves with self-protection means as a defence mechanism against pirates who are reportedly changing their techniques.
In another development, the EU envoy pointed out that regional maritime capacity building was being finalized and it would come into effect between June and July, this year.