Mauritius has commissioned into service its new patrol vessel CGS Victory for the National Coast Guard as well as two Chetak helicopters for its Police Helicopter Squadron.
The equipment was delivered by India and commissioned in a ceremony last month in Port Louis that was attended by Prime Minister Anerood Jugnauth and Indian Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar in the first such visit of an Indian defence minister to Mauritius.
“The CGS Victory has now joined the ranks of CGS Barracuda, CGS Guardian and other ships of the Mauritius Coast Guard,” Parrikar said, adding that the induction of CGS Victory and CGS Valiant in mid-2017 will considerably enhance the ability to monitor and patrol the island nation’s 2.3 million square kilometre exclusive economic zone (EEZ).
The supply of the two Chetak helicopters is in line with India’s commitment to augmenting the capacities of the Mauritius Police Force, including in the critical area of search and rescue, he added. The two refurbished helicopters were donated by the Indian government.
The 50 metre long CGS Victory was built by Goa Shipyard Limited (GSL) in India and funded by a Government of India Line of Credit. She was launched in February 2016 and handed over in India in September. Sister ship CGS Valiant is also being built by GSL.
GSL said the CGS Victory is primarily designed for coastal patrolling, anti-piracy, anti-smuggling, anti-drug surveillance, anti-poaching operations, and search and rescue operations. It is fitted with a 30 mm CRN-91 cannon, 12.7 mm and 7.62 mm machineguns and has a top speed of 35 knots thanks to water jet propulsion. At economical cruising speed, it has an endurance of about 2 000 nautical miles.
In accepting the CGS Victory and Chetak helicopters on 10 December, Jugnauth said that the acquisition is yet another milestone in the country’s long journey towards enhancing maritime safety and security, especially in the combat against poaching of marine and fish resources, illicit activities, including drug trafficking and other types of transnational crimes.
Jugnauth announced that the India will assist Mauritius in an integrated development project known as the ‘Trident Project’ which will cater for appropriate infrastructure and facilities and would involve the construction of a new National Coast Guard (NCG) headquarters at Fort William, upgrading of repair facilities for the NCG vessels and construction of a dry docking facility with flotilla support services.
The value of the project is estimated at $70 million and will be financed jointly by the Government of India and the Government of Mauritius at the ratio of 80:20, respectively. For this project, funds to the tune of $52.3 million will be provided under the Indian Line of credit and a one-time grant of $4 million will also be made available by the Indian Government. The remaining $12 million will be financed out of local funds, the government of Mauritius said.
In March last year the island nation strengthened its maritime capabilities with the commissioning of ten 14.5 metre Fast Interceptor Boats (FIBs) from GSL. The bulk of the FIBs will be used to conduct day and night patrols and periodic Special Forces Operations (SFOs) in shallow waters. Each boat has a top speed of 35 knots with a cruising speed of 20 knots, along with an endurance of over 200 km. The boats were ordered along with machineguns, ammunition and body armour for the crews.
The Mauritius National Coast Guard on 14 July last year inducted a third Do 228 aircraft into service to patrol the nation’s coastline.