Seychelles President James Michel [official profile] on Monday asked world leaders to address security problems in Somalia with greater urgency on Monday in order to lower the rate of Somali pirate [JURIST news archive] attacks in the southern Indian Ocean. In letters to a number of leaders, including US President Barack Obama [official website], Michel asked for raids [AP report] on terror groups operating in Somalia and for greater support for the African Union's peacekeeping effort in the country. Michel noted that although most pirate attacks are unsuccessful, Seychelles [BBC backgrounder] yacht tourism has taken a hit, and prices for shipping from the small island nation have skyrocketed because of concern over pirate activity.
Piracy remains an issue of international concern. The Seychelles is one of the few countries that have been willing to prosecute suspected pirates. In July 2010, the Supreme Court of Seychelles convicted a group of Somali pirates [JURIST report], sentencing them to 10 years in prison. The 11 men were apprehended in the Indian Ocean following the attempted hijacking [BBC report] of a Seychelles coastguard ship in December 2009. Other countries that have attempted to prosecute pirates include the US, Germany, the Netherlands, Mauritius, Yemen, Somalia and Spain [JURIST reports].