European Union donates speedboat to Seychelles Coast Guard


The European Union’s capacity building mission EUCAP Nestor has donated a rigid-hulled inflatable boat (RHIB) to the Seychelles Coast Guard at its new base.

The ceremony on May 23 was presided over by the Commanding Officer of the Coast Guard, Lt Col Simon Dine, on behalf of the Seychelles and the Head of Mission of EUCAP Nestor, Etienne de Poncins, as well as the Minister for Home Affairs and Transport, Joel Morgan.

The new 6.5 metre speedboat can be taken on board one of the larger Coast Guard vessels and deployed for boarding as well as search and rescue operations at sea. This type of boat is particularly useful in counter-piracy operations as it can carry boarding teams used to interdict pirate skiffs EUCAP Nestor said.

The speedboat is also equipped with electronic charts, GPS, radar, and integrated communication equipment. It is able to operate at sea in the dead of night.
“This speedboat is a tool that will strengthen the Seychelles Coast Guard’s capacity to combat piracy,” said de Poncins at the ceremony. “EUCAP Nestor will also provide tailored training on how to operate the speedboat and maintain it, as this is an essential part of our efforts to build capacity.”

The speedboat also comes with a manual and training course provided by EUCAP Nestor experts. The training will include practical exercises on handling and manoeuvring the boat as well as maintenance.
“This donation by EUCAP Nestor is very timely and much needed,” said Lt Col Dine. “The speedboat and training fills a gap and will help us in the on-going fight against piracy. The Seychelles is very grateful to EUCAP Nestor for this donation.”

Prior to the ceremony, de Poncins, Minister Morgan, Lt Col Dine and a number of other dignitaries visited the Basic Training Course for the Coast Guard, which is being supported by EUCAP Nestor. The 19 Coast Guard trainees, who have recently been joined by colleagues from the Air Force and the newly established Marine Police Investigation Unit, are completing a maritime safety and security module.
“This module has been an indispensable part of the Basic Training Programme for our young trainees,” said Lt Col Dine. “Maritime safety and security is our core business.”

The five-week module on maritime safety and security started on 21 April with a visit to the Spanish-flagged frigate operating as NATO Ocean Shield Flagship, Cristobal Colon. There the trainees were briefed by the Spanish sailors on NATO’s counter-piracy efforts in the region.

The curricula has included lectures on topics such as international maritime conventions, search and rescue operations, port and flag state control, combating maritime security threats (such as terrorism, human trafficking and narco-trafficking), and ship security.

A number of Seychelles and international agencies involved in maritime safety and security have also provided lectures and presentations to the trainees. Representatives from the Port Authority, the Seychelles Maritime Safety Agency, Air Force, Attorney-General’s Officer, and the Civil Aviation Authority, as well as INTERPOL, REFLECS3, and the IOC Anti-Piracy Unit, have taken part in different parts of the training.

Nine police officers from the newly created Marine Police Investigation Unit have joined the 19 Coast Guard trainees for the safety and security lessons. EUCAP Nestor is assisting the Police in setting up the new Unit with training, institutional support, and other forms of essential support.
“We welcome the participation of the police officers from the Marine Police Investigation Unit in the Basic Training,” said Minister Morgan. “The Basic Training will provide them with a basic capacity to operate effectively as police officers involved in the Marine Police Investigation Unit. It is essential that they work closely with their Coast Guard partners to ensure synergies.”
“We look forward to continuing working with EUCAP Nestor and other partners on developing police capacity in this sector,” said Minister Morgan.

The Seychelles Coast Guard recently received a Type 62 gunboat donated by the Chinese government to help boost the operational capabilities of the Indian Ocean island nation’s naval force. The vessel was handed over to Seychelles foreign affairs minister Jean-Paul Adam and military top brass on April 29 and will be commissioned and officially handed over to the Seychelles Coast Guard on June 18.

Among other core duties, the new vessel will be used to protect the country’s Exclusive Economic Zones (EEZ) on the Indian Ocean and fight piracy, drug smuggling, human trafficking and other maritime crimes on the high seas.

The Seychelles is at the frontline in the fight against piracy and has prosecuted 124 pirates to date.

The latest donation follows the Chinese government’s donation and delivery to the Seychelles of two Y-12 aircraft which were deployed on surveillance duties over the country’s Exclusive Economic Zone.