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Saturday, December 16, 2017

INTERTANKO calls for prosecution of Bow Saga pirates

Press briefing

INTERTANKO calls for the prosecution of the Somali pirates whose attack yesterday on the Norwegian 40,085 dwt chemical tanker Bow Saga in the Gulf of Aden Internationally Recognised Transit Corridor was frustrated by the Spanish frigate Victoria, where the pirates are now being detained.

We hope that these men will not be released due to the absence of any country willing to detain them and try them in court. We appeal to the Seizing State (Spain) or the Flag State (Norway) to 'co-operate to the fullest possible extent in repression of piracy' as per Art 100 of UNCLOS, and therefore to prosecute or extradite – either to prosecute the pirates on the basis of customary international law, or to transfer the prosecution to another state.

This summer has seen the successful prosecution of pirates in Rotterdam and in the Seychelles, resulting in prison sentences of five years for five pirates for the attack on the Sananyolu and ten years for 11 pirates for the attack on the Topaz. We hope that this pressure to obtain proper justice will be sustained in the case of the Bow Saga, particularly since we understand that naval personnel who boarded and searched the skiff found weapons onboard.

We understand that the Master of the Bow Saga, which is en route to Europe, has given a statement to a representative from EUNAVFOR. One of the keys to a successful prosecution is availability of  officers and crew of the naval vessel as well as of the attacked vessel to provide witness statements in court or at least to provide written testimony.

We stand ready to assist in any way we can with helping the process of obtaining evidence from seafarers to facilitate prosecution, both with this incident and with any future pirate attack.

“Bringing these pirates to trial for their blatant flaunting of the international rules of free trade and unhindered passage should be given first priority as the states involved in this incident recognise their obligations under international law to deliver justice,” says Michele White, INTERTANKO’s General Counsel.

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