The Mauritius Coast Guard Service (MCG) has commissioned into service ten 14.5 metre long Fast Interceptor Boats (FIBs) ordered from Indian shipbuilder Goa Shipyards Limited, the government has announced.
The Mauritian government said the ten vessels were commissioned into service by Prime Minister Anerood Jugnauth at the MCGS’s main base at the Caudan Waterfront in the capital Port Louis on March 12. They were delivered in two batches in January and February this year.
The government said the vessels will be deployed to secure the island nation’s maritime boundaries and perform surveillance duties over the Exclusive Economic Zone, which is the centre-piece of the national vision for a functional ‘blue economy’, which envisions sustainable exploitation of sea resources to spur economic growth.
“(Prime Minister Jugnauth) stressed that one of the top-most priorities of the government is to provide resources to the police to fight against maritime crimes. He added that the induction of Fast Interceptor Boats will enable the Mauritius Police Force (MPF) and the MCGS to intensify surveillance and intelligence gathering operations over the maritime domain,” the government said in a statement.
The bulk of the FIBs will be used to conduct day and night patrols and periodic Special Forces Operations (SFOs) in shallow waters.
Some of the vessels will be stationed on Rodrigues, the second biggest island, to provide emergency Search and Rescue (SAR) services to the residents of the isles around it.
Each boat has a top speed of 35 knots (63 km/h) with a cruising speed of 20 knots (36 km/h), along with an endurance of over 200 km. The boats were ordered along with machineguns, ammunition and body armour for the crews.
Jugnauth said Mauritius faces several maritime safety and security threats including piracy, drug and human trafficking, goods smuggling and terrorism as well as small arms trafficking.
The PM said Indian companies Goa Shipyards Limited and Hindustan Aeronautical Limited (HAL) will, by the end of 2017, deliver two Fast Attack Craft (CGS Victory and CGS Valiant) and one Dornier Do 228 maritime surveillance aircraft, respectively.
The equipment was ordered in July 2014. One of the two 50 metre long, waterjet-powered fast attack craft (CGS Victory) was launched in India in February and is due to be delivered to Port Louis by the end of this year.
The second one is due for delivery by the end of 2017. The new Do 228 aircraft is already being built in India with work expected to be completed by June this year.
The total cost of the 10 FIBs, two fast attack craft and one aircraft was $27 million, which was paid through a loan facility advanced to the government of Mauritius by the Export-Import Bank of India. The ten interceptors were ordered from Goa Shipyard Limited on 4 April 2014 for a total sum of $6 million.