The Seychelles Coast Guard has conducted anti-piracy exercises with European naval forces in order to enhance coordination and cooperation between the European Union Naval Force and Seychelles Coast Guard and improve the Coast Guard’s capabilities.
The joint exercise was carried out on April 26 in the Seychelles and involved the European Union Naval Force and EUCAP Nestor, a Common Security and Defence Policy mission aimed at supporting regional maritime capacity-building in the Horn of Africa and Western Indian Ocean states.
The exercise involved a mock interception of a suspected pirate skiff in Seychelles waters by the combined efforts of EU Navfor and the Seychelles Coast Guard. The Coast Guard vessel, Topaz, and a helicopter from French Navy ship, LHD Tonnerre, operating under EU Navfor flag, jointly intervened against a suspected pirate skiff.
“This exercise was a perfect example of our partnership with the Seychelles and EU Navfor,” said Admiral Launay. “I am delighted by the close and seamless coordination.”
“We welcome the assistance from our friends from the EU. This helps us to improve our capacity to fight piracy and ensure the maritime security of the Seychelles,” said the Commanding Officer of the Seychelles Coast Guard, Lt Col George Adeline.
Experts from EUCAP Nestor were on the Topaz to provide advice on the handling of the suspected pirates and evidence from the skiff. EUCAP Nestor is developing a handbook together with the Seychelles Coast Guard on procedures for evidence handling.
A number of dignitaries, in addition to Admiral Launay and Lt Col Adeline, were on board the Topaz to observe the exercise: the Deputy Operational Commander of EU Navfor, Rear Admiral Eric Dupont, the Commanding Officer of the Tonnerre, Captain Jean-Francois Quérat, the Ambassador of France, HE Geneviève Iancu, and the British High Commissioner, HE Lindsay Skoll.
“I am impressed by the professionalism of the Seychelles Coast Guard,” said Captain Quérat of the Tonnerre. “They demonstrated that they are serious about dealing with the threat of piracy.”
This was the first exercise carried out jointly between EU Navfor, EUCAP Nestor and the Seychelles Coast Guard, according to EU Navfor.
“This exercise is a tangible illustration of the EU’s comprehensive approach to maritime security in the region”, said Rear-Admiral Dupont. “As EUCAP Nestor and EU Navfor work ever more closely together, we hope that this will be the first of many regular exercises which enable combined understanding and improved regional maritime security. In carrying out its mandate, EU Navfor fully supports the work of EUCAP Nestor in the region.”
There are currently four EUCAP Nestor experts in the Seychelles working on building the capacities of the Seychelles Coast Guard, Seychelles Air Force, Police, and Judiciary to conduct maritime security operations in particular counter-piracy.