INTERPOL is exploring opportunities for formal cooperation agreements with naval forces involved in maritime piracy. INTERPOL and naval forces are discussing an information-sharing model, which would provide naval forces access to INTERPOL’s fingerprint database, and allow naval forces to fingerprint suspected pirates at the time of their capture. INTERPOL has already agreed to this type of information-sharing model with both NATO and EU NAVFOR.
The 4th version (August 2011) of the shipping industry’s Best Management Practices (BMP4) has a ‘new subsection on “Prosecution of Pirates – Assisting Law Enforcement Authorities”, which was produced in conjunction with INTERPOL, is now included. This new section includes reference to a 24-hr helpline and to INTERPOL’s new Maritime Task Force website.’ INTERPOL is working with the shipping industry to ensure that evidence is preserved on ships following incidents of piracy and has produced guidelines on evidence collection and preservation which is part of INTERPOL’s task force mandate.
Plight of Seafarers
No activity planned or implemented.
Messaging and Advocacy
No activity planned or implemented.
INTERPOL continues to provide law enforcement training courses to Somalia and other Eastern African countries to combat the maritime piracy threat in the region. Through the EU funded, Law Enforcement Capacity Building in East Africa project, INTERPOL focuses on enhancing the capacity of regional governments and forces, by providing crime scene investigation training and equipment to seven countries in the region. Working alongside the UNODC, INTERPOL has conducted training of police officers from Mauritius and the Seychelles as well as a number of other joint activities listed in the UNODC Counter-Piracy Programme February 2012 brochure. In June 2012, INTERPOL partnered with the UK led RAPPICC to develop a centre for collecting personal data used to identify suspected pirates, including fingerprints, name or alias, date and place of birth, nationality, sex, driving licenses, identification documents and personal data. In addition to the new centre, INTERPOL provided the Seychellois police with an Automated Fingerprint Identification System, or AFIS, which allows better collection of biometric data from the prison population, including from convicted pirates.
In an effort to improve Somalia’s capacity, INTERPOL, at the request of the Somalia Maritime Piracy Task Force, reviewed and provided feedback on the Somalia Security Bill of 2011. INTERPOL is currently working with Somalia on a Joint Somali and INTERPOL initiative to improve diplomatic relations among affected countries, in effort to identify Somali pirates that have been captured by navies, and prosecuted in foreign jurisdictions.
Rule of Law
INTERPOL continues to work with both regional and international partners in an effort to enhance the rule of law and regional law enforcement capacities, as well as promote information-sharing platforms. In April 2011, INTERPOL sent their first Incident Response Team (IRT), a team of experts that assist in crime scene investigation and evidence collection, into Durban, South Africa to investigate a Greek vessel released by Somali pirates. The IRT collected both physical and digital evidence from the ship’s satellite phone, fingerprints and DNA, as well as testimony from the ship’s crew. In July 2011, INTERPOL launched their Global Maritime Piracy Database to collect and disseminate information about pirates and pirate attacks. This database has allowed INTERPOL and their international partners to identify organizers and leaders of pirate networks. Further, INTERPOL's digital photo album contains photos of more than 300 suspected pirates and has also proven useful in identifying captors. Additionally in 2011, INTERPOL launched Project EVEXI (Evidence Exploitation Initiative), a project that provides investigators with INTERPOL-supported procedure for intelligence gathering, evidence collection, and information sharing. This project allows for evidence to be collected in a manner that can be effectively used in the prosecutions of pirates. In June 2012, INTERPOL partnered with UK led RAPPICC to develop a centre for collecting data that can be used as evidence as well as to identify suspected pirates. The evidence collected will be used to prosecute suspects and pursue the organizers and leaders of pirate networks. INTERPOL currently has information-sharing agreements with both EUROPOL and NATO, and is in discussions to develop a similar information-sharing model with active naval forces such as the Netherlands and Denmark.
INTERPOL coordinates with both regional and international partners in the fight against maritime piracy. In July 2011, INTERPOL launched their Maritime Piracy Global Database to collect and disseminate information about pirates and pirate attacks. The database, ‘contains more than 4,000 records of personal information on pirates and financiers; pirates’ telephone numbers and phone records; hijacking incidents; vessels and ransom payments, submitted by law enforcement and private industry partners. INTERPOL has created a digital photo album with photographs of more than 300 suspected pirates submitted by law enforcement and military agencies. The images are shared with the Organization’s counter-piracy partners and are used when debriefing released hostages to help identify their attackers.’(Annual Report 2011) Also in 2011, INTERPOL opened a Command and Coordination Centre in the Singapore Regional Bureau to support piracy investigations in the Indian Ocean theatre. In 2012, INTERPOL, along with IGOs and state-partners, joined with the United Kingdom (UK) and Indian Ocean Commission (IOC) led Regional Anti-Piracy Prosecution & Intelligence Coordination Centre (RAPPICC), headquartered in Victoria, Seychelles, to create a centre for the sharing and dissemination of information. INTERPOL is currently working alongside EUROJUST and EUROPOL in effort to develop a global law enforcement and prosecution strategy for maritime piracy.