EUCAP Nestor begins training Seychelles Air Force, Coast Guard


The capacity training mission EUCAP Nestor on Monday began two new training courses for the Seychelles Air Force and Seychelles Coast Guard, which cover boat handling and aircraft-based surveillance.

The 22 week long Surveillance Operator Mission training course developed by EUCAP Nestor is training ten new surveillance operators of the Seychelles Air Forces (SAF). The course covers topics such as pre-flight preparation, in-flight tactics, flight navigation, surveillance radar, electro optical/infrared camera, communication, camera systems, search and rescue, crew resource management, fishing regulations, environment regulations and meteorology.

The course that was prepared by the EUCAP Nestor expert from the Swedish Coast Guard, Bjorn Erlandsson, will be delivered in most parts by him, with assistance from SAF officers and another EUCAP Nestor expert. It will also include in flight training with both types of SAF aircraft for operational purposes and the final result will provide Seychelles Air Force with a pool of Maritime Surveillance Officers trained as Radar operators and Imagery Analysts, EUCAP Nestor said.

Speaking about the preparations for this course, Bjorn Erlandsson says: “The surveillance operators have a crucial role which is to search the patrol area by using all sensors available in the aircraft, and also to prepare for the flights and write the reports during and after the flights. I am working with the SAF since January this year and I am really impressed by everything achieved in this short period of time. This training is the next step and will help them to become even more operational.”

The course has been specifically tailored to the needs of the SAF to ensure that the Sensor operators and image analysts will have the same basic and advanced training. This will increase their skills in their daily work, both on the ground as an Imagery Analyst but also as a Surveillance Operator in flight.
“It is the first time the Seychelles Air Force is carrying out a Surveillance Operators Mission Training Course,” said Michel Pouponneau, the Commander of the SAF. “It will provide the participating airmen with multi-skills as all of them will be cross trained as radar operators and imagery analysts. As a result, SAF will have a pool of surveillance officers and expand its human resources capacity”.

EUCAP Nestor will also assist SAF with additional in flight training. There will be further assistance related to the unit’s institutional set up and other forms of essential support such as equipment. Some equipment that will be used in the training has already been delivered by EUCAP Nestor such as image stabilized binoculars, camera systems, video projectors and VHF radios. Laptops and a scanner/printer will also be provided in the near future.

Regarding the boat handling course, ten Seychelles Coast Guard (SCG) personnel are undergoing speedboat handling training. The course, developed by expert instructors from SCG and EUCAP Nestor, will develop their awareness and skills relevant to operating and servicing this type of boat.

The course is intended to develop their knowledge about maintenance, radio and navigational equipment fitted on the boat as well as duties and responsibilities of personnel on duty on-board. All the above will be combined with practical exercises on board, day and night, while also focusing on the different contexts in which this type of boat can be deployed i.e. search and rescue (SAR), fisheries supervisory, maritime policing and pollution control. The course is linked to the donation of a speed boat by EUCAP Nestor earlier this year.
“This training follows the donation to the SCG of a rubber boat for security and boarding operations. It is in the policy of EUCAP Nestor to complement the delivery of equipment with trainings and I’m particularly proud that we managed to make it happen”, said EUCAP Nestor expert Commander Giulio Piroddi from Italy. “At the end of the course, the attendees will be able to safely drive the boat at day and nighttime and in all weather conditions.”

Head of EUCAP Nestor Country Office, Bo Holtse said, “Providing training and support to development of personnel; knowledge, skills, routines and procedures relevant to specific types of equipment all reflect the pivotal link between personnel, equipment and training. From this perspective both of these training activities mirror positively the collaboration between SAF, SCG and EUCAP Nestor in developing individual as well as organizational capabilities crucial within the common domain of Maritime Safety and Surveillance.”

EUCAP Nestor is a civilian European Union mission, under the Common Security and Defence Policy, which assists countries in the Horn of Africa and the Western Indian Ocean in strengthening their capacity to ensure maritime security and in particular to fight piracy.