The Seychelles Coast Guard has dispatched one of its main offshore patrol vessels to Sri Lanka where it will undergo a month long refurbishment.
A statement issued by the Seychelles People’s Defence Forces (SPDF) said the patrol boat Andromache left the island nation on July 25 with its entire 21 member crew bound for the Sri Lankan Navy’s Colombo Dock Yard.
The SPDF statement said the 42-metre patrol vessel is accompanied on the voyage by the oil tanker MT Seychelles Paradise which belongs to the Seychelles Petroleum Company. This will also undergo structural refurbishment and equipment re-fits at the same dock yard in Colombo.
“In Colombo, major engineering works have been planned on the ship’s hull as well as machinery and other auxiliary equipment. The refit is part of the ship’s normal maintenance cycle. Andromache’ is expected to return to Port Victoria by early September to rejoin the Coast Guard Fleet and continue with her duties related to the protection of Seychelles waters,” said the SPDF statement.
The vessel, which was built in Italy in 1983, has played a leading role in the Seychelles Coast Guard’s (SCG’s) contribution to the international anti-piracy mission on the Indian Ocean. Apart from Andromache, the SCG operates several small craft and two other offshore patrol vessels, namely the Topaz and Etoile – the latter was a recent donation from the Chinese government.
They patrol the Seychelles 1.3 million square kilometre exclusive economic zone (EEZ). Their duties include fighting piracy, drug smuggling, human trafficking and other maritime crimes on the high seas. The Seychelles has been at the frontline in the fight against piracy and has prosecuted 124 pirates to date. Most of them have been repatriated to Somalia to serve their sentences. 23 remain in Seychelles’ Montagne Posée prison awaiting trial.