Operational support

Maritime piracy has a global reach. A single incident can involve seamen, vessel owners, shipping companies, insurance companies, navies and pirates from several different countries.

At INTERPOL, we have taken the lead in providing the international community with the operational support necessary to bring an end to maritime piracy. Our goal is to equip member countries affected by maritime piracy with the skills they need to identify and arrest the high-level leaders and financiers, in order to break up the syndicates involved in this crime.

Types of assistance

Incident Response Teams

When a captured vessel is released by pirates, INTERPOL can send a team of experts, known as an Incident Response Team (IRT), to assist with the crime scene investigation and evidence collection.

In April 2011, the first ever piracy IRT was sent to Durban, South Africa, to assist national police with the investigation of a Greek vessel released by Somali pirates. The team collected physical evidence, recovered digital evidence from the vessel’s satellite phone, collected fingerprints and DNA, and gathered testimony from the crew. The evidence was forwarded to the South African authorities to conduct a formal investigation.

Another IRT was deployed to Salalah, Oman, in June 2012, to assist with the processing of a piracy crime scene on the ‘Liquid Velvet’, a Greek vessel operating under the flag of the Marshall Islands.

Project EVEXI (Evidence Exploitation Initiative)

The project assists our member countries investigating piracy cases by providing regional investigators with an INTERPOL-supported procedure for intelligence gathering, evidence collection and information sharing. This ensures that all information and evidence collected is effectively used in the prosecution of pirates

In our pilot project, Project Cerberus, we collaborated with partners to interview Somali pirates in Seychellois prisons. The initiative has produced positive results, including the discovery of evidence placing one pirate at the scene of an attack against a Belgian vessel two years earlier.

The project has been launched in Madagascar, the Maldives, the Seychelles and Tanzania, with other beneficiaries including Kenya and Oman.

Distribution of best management practices

We have contributed to the creation of a chapter in a manual distributed to the shipping industry. INTERPOL’s chapter provides guidance to seafarers and vessel owners on the proper techniques of post-incident evidence preservation and recovery, and we have set up a mechanism to offer them assistance.


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