British Foreign Office Minister Alistair Burt announced a major step forward in the fight against piracy in waters east of Africa.
Burt recently spoke at the opening ceremony of the Regional Anti-Piracy Prosecution & Intelligence Coodination Center (RAPPICC), located in the island nation in the Seychelles. The RAPPICC will serve as an information sharing center, and a forum where the world experts on intelligence can coordinate to tackle piracy. The center hopes to make it possible to track down pirate networks, including their bosses and their financiers.
Minister Burt had the following to say about the effort:
“I welcome the vital work of the RAPPICC, which begins in earnest today. This center will play a vital role in targeting the heart of the piracy operations: the leaders and financiers of piracy who feel as if they are able to act with impunity. By targeting those at the top the RAPPICC will perform a vital and unique function, and will support regional capacity in tackling serious organized maritime crime in Somalia and across the Indian Ocean.”
During the London Conference on Somalia last year, the Prime Minister enacted a Memorandum of Understanding with the President of the Seychelles. In this deal, the United Kingdom promised 550,000 Euros for the costs of constructing the RAPPICC compound. One of the co-directors will be from the United Kingdom, as well as one other officer.
Overall, the RAPPICC will be run by a multinational force. Currently, the most active participants will include the United States, the United Kingdom, the Netherlands, Australia, the Seychelles, Tanzania, Mauritius, as well as representatives from INTERPOL and the European Union Naval Force.