Today, EUCAP Nestor donated a deployable speedboat to the Seychelles Coast Guard in a ceremony at the new Coast Guard base. The ceremony was presided over by the Commanding Officer of the Coast Guard, Lt Col Simon Dine, on behalf of the Seychelles and the Head of Mission of EUCAP Nestor, Etienne de Poncins, as well as the Minister for Home Affairs and Transport, Joel Morgan.
The speedboat is a 6.5 metre Rigid Hull Inflatable Boat (RHIB) that can be taken on board one of the larger Coast Guard vessels and deployed for boarding as well as search and rescue operations at sea. This type of boat is particularly useful in counter-piracy operations as it can carry boarding teams used to interdict pirate skiffs.
The speedboat is also equipped with state of the art electronic charts, GPS, radar, and integrated communication equipment. It is able to operate at sea in the dead of night.
“This speedboat is a tool that will strengthen the Seychelles Coast Guard’s capacity to combat piracy,” said de Poncins at the ceremony. “EUCAP Nestor will also provide tailored training on how to operate the speedboat and maintain it, as this is an essential part of our efforts to build capacity.”
The speedboat also comes with a manual and training course provided by EUCAP Nestor experts. The training will include practical exercises on handling and manoeuvring the boat as well as maintenance.
“This donation by EUCAP Nestor is very timely and much needed,” said Lt Col Dine. “The speedboat and training fills a gap and will help us in the on-going fight against piracy. The Seychelles is very grateful to EUCAP Nestor for this donation.”
The ceremony was attended by a number of dignitaries, including the Secretary of State, Ambassador Faure, the Chief of Staff of the SPDF, Col Clifford Roseline, the Police Commissioner, Ernest Quatre and the French Ambassador, Genevieve Iancu, who currently holds the local EU presidency.
Prior to the ceremony, de Poncins, Minister Morgan, Lt Col Dine and a number of other dignitaries visited the Basic Training Course for the Coast Guard, which is being supported by EUCAP Nestor. The 19 Coast Guard trainees, who have recently been joined by colleagues from the Air Force and the newly established Marine Police Investigation Unit, are completing a maritime safety and security module.
“This module has been an indispensable part of the Basic Training Programme for our young trainees,” said Lt Col Dine, the Commanding Officer of the Coast Guard. “Maritime safety and security is our core business.”
The five-week module on maritime safety and security started on 21 April with a visit to the Spanish-flagged frigate operating as NATO Ocean Shield Flagship, Cristobal Colon. There the trainees were briefed by the Spanish sailors on NATO’s counter-piracy efforts in the region.
The curricula has included lectures on topics such as international maritime conventions, search and rescue operations, port and flag state control, combating maritime security threats (such as terrorism, human trafficking and narco-trafficking), and ship security.
A number of Seychelles and international agencies involved in maritime safety and security have also provided lectures and presentations to the trainees. Representatives from the Port Authority, the Seychelles Maritime Safety Agency, Air Force, Attorney-General’s Officer, and the Civil Aviation Authority, as well as INTERPOL, REFLECS3, and the IOC Anti-Piracy Unit, have held in different parts of the training.
Nine police officers from the newly created Marine Police Investigation Unit have joined the 19 Coast Guard trainees for the safety and security lessons. EUCAP Nestor is assisting the Police in setting up the new Unit with training, institutional support, and other forms of essential support.
“We welcome the participation of the police officers from the Marine Police Investigation Unit in the Basic Training,” said Minister Morgan. “The Basic Training will provide them with a basic capacity to operate effectively as police officers involved in the Marine Police Investigation Unit. It is essential that they work closely with their Coast Guard partners to ensure synergies.”
“We look forward to continuing working with EUCAP Nestor and other partners on developing police capacity in this sector.” said Minister Morgan.
EUCAP Nestor is a civilian EU mission, under the Common Security and Defence Policy, which assists countries in the Horn of Africa and the Western Indian Ocean in strengthening their capacity to ensure maritime security and in particular to fight piracy.