India donates patrol boat to Seychelles


India has donated a second SDB Mk 5 patrol boat to the Seychelles, the PS Constant, nine years after donating the PS Topaz (formerly INS Tarmugli) in 2005. The new 46 metre long vessel will be used by the Coast Guard to improve maritime security.

The vessel was handed over at the Seychelles Coast Guard base at Ile du Port on Friday in a ceremony attended by President James Michel, commander-in-chief of the Seychelles military.

The PS Constant was known as the INS Tarasa in Indian service and was renamed after one of the island nation’s fishing banks. It was handed over by the Indian Navy’s Chief of Naval Staff, Admiral Robin K Dhowan. Coinciding with the handover was a three day stopover by the Indian Navy destroyer INS Mumbai, the stealth frigate INIS Talwar and the tanker INS Deepak. They arrived at Port Victoria on November 6.

Michel said the donation is a sign of strong ties between the Seychelles and India and will improve maritime security and peace and security, reports the Seychelles News Agency.

The Commanding Officer of the Seychelles Coast Guard, Lieutenant Colonel Simon Dine, said that in spite of the drop in piracy in the region, there remain “other illegal activities, including unlicensed fishing still going on in Seychelles’ EEZ and that the acquisition of the new patrol boat was timely.”

INS Tarasa is an SDB Mk 5 patrol boat built by India’s state-owned Garden Reach Shipbuilders & Engineers in Kolkata and refurbished by the Naval Dockyard Mumbai. She has a displacement of 319 tons, a maximum speed of 28 knots and a complement of 24.

India last year donated a Dornier 228 maritime surveillance aircraft to the Seychelles People’s Defence Force, which helps patrol the country’s 1.3 million square kilometre Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ).

The Seychelles Coast Guard fleet further expanded in April this year when China donated the 38 metre Etoile patrol boat, built specifically for the Seychelles. The new vessels join the Topaz, Andromache, La Fleche and Le Vigilant (the latter two donated by the UAE). China previously donated two Y-12 aircraft for maritime surveillance.

Pic: The PS Constant (photo by Seychelles News Agency).