India completes refit of Mauritian patrol vessel


The Indian Navy has completed the refit of the 32 year old Mauritius Coast Guard service vessel MCGS Guardian.

In a statement, the Indian Navy said the refurbishment, which began in December 2017, was done at the Naval Dockyard in Mumbai. Major works involved upgrades to the hull, engineering, electrical and weapons systems.

The Indian Navy said Rear Admiral Superintendent Sandeep Naithani of the dockyard in Mumbai reported that the Guardian has completed all sea trials. It is now due to sail back home to Mauritius.

The Guardian was donated to the Mauritius Coast Guard by the Indian Navy in 1993. Since then, India has supplied the spares to keep the vessel afloat.

The boat underwent its first refit carried out by the Indian Navy in 2006. Since then, Mauritius has received two serviceable 3670 HP MTU main engines from Indian to mitigate mechanical problems arising from the ageing of the Guardian.

In Mauritius, the CGS Guardian primarily works on search and rescue missions as well as surveillance operations over the Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ). India and Mauritius have a long-standing defence and security relationships that includes Indian training, arming and logistical equipment of the security forces.

India is strengthening the naval capabilities of Mauritius and after an official visit by Indian President Ramnath Kovind to Mauritius on 12 March, it was announced that India would provide the island state with an extra $100 million credit line toward military capability-building, as part of the Indian Ocean Region Outreach, which focuses on maritime security, amongst others.

Under this deal Mauritius will use the money to acquire another offshore patrol vessel from India. This is an extension of a previous $46 million credit line granted in 2014, which had funded the Mauritius Coast Guard’s procurement of 10 fast interceptor boats (FIBs) and two fast attack craft from state-owned Indian shipbuilder Goa Shipyard Limited (GSL).

Defense and naval cooperation is central in the Indian-Mauritian partnership. India is a critical supporter of the Mauritian security forces and coast guard. Not only does it play a central role in Mauritian capability-building – in 2015 it donated an offshore patrol vessel, the Barracuda, and provided it with two surveillance aircraft in 2012 – it’s also directly involved in Mauritian defence: it provides military training to Mauritian forces, patrol services in Mauritian waters , and takes part in the command of Mauritian forces.