LYON, France – The European Union (EU) Council has adopted a Decision which will see the EU’s on-going military mission against maritime piracy off the coast of Somalia use INTERPOL’s global network and tools to fight the criminal networks behind piracy in the Gulf of Aden.
Under EU Council Decision 2010/766/CFSP passed on 7 December, information on suspected maritime pirates collected by members of the EU’s Operation ATALANTA, such as fingerprints, nominal information and identification documents, as well as details of equipment used by the suspects, will be provided to INTERPOL for checking against its global databases with a view to facilitating the identification and traceability of suspects, as well as their prosecution.
With acts of maritime piracy and armed robbery off the Somali coast continuing to threaten lives and shipping in the area and impeding the delivery of food aid shipments to the Somali population, INTERPOL Secretary General Ronald K. Noble said maritime piracy was an international organized crime problem requiring the sharing of crucial police intelligence through a collaborative approach.
In this respect, Mr Noble described the EU Council Decision as ‘a significant development in terms of information sharing against maritime piracy and in combating the criminal networks behind it’.
“The EU decision recognizes the key role played by international law enforcement and INTERPOL in providing the critical link between arrests made through military interventions and the investigation and prosecution of maritime pirates and associated criminal networks,” said the head of INTERPOL.
"INTERPOL has long asserted that maritime piracy is a classic transnational crime problem which may occur on the high seas but is part of a wider global network where organized criminals target victims, take them hostage and extort ransoms, leaving evidence for law enforcement to follow and investigate.
"A comprehensive approach that pools intelligence, resources and forges strategic partnerships is key to addressing maritime piracy, and in this respect INTERPOL's strong collaboration with international partners such as the EU, Europol and the United Nations will be crucial to addressing this crime," concluded Secretary General Noble.
The EU Decision follows last month’s United Nations Security Council Resolution 1950 (2010) calling on all UN 192 member countries to work with INTERPOL and Europol to fight criminal networks involved in maritime piracy off the coast of Somalia. Collaboration between INTERPOL and Europol in information exchange and analysis of piracy related material has already resulted in the identification of links between a number of cases and individuals based on DNA, fingerprint and telephone analysis.