Written by Oscar Nkala
The island nation of Mauritius has ordered a 50 metre fast patrol vessel from India, as well as machineguns, ammunition, body armour and interceptor boats in a major re-equipment drive.
The government of Mauritius said the order for the $20.5 million fast patrol vessel for the Mauritius Police Force/Coast Guard was signed on May 7 in Port Louis by the Senior Chief Executive of the Prime Minister’s Office, K O Fong Weng-Poorun, and the Chairman and Managing Director of Goa Shipyard Ltd, Shekhar Mital. Also present at the signing ceremony were the Commissioner of Police and the Commander of the National Coast Guard.
The fast patrol vessel will be 50.44 metres long with a speed of 35 knots. It will be used for defence and protection work, surveys, pollution control, coastal patrol, anti-smuggling, anti-poaching, search and rescue, fisheries protection and monitoring of foreign chartered trawlers, amongst other duties.
On the same occasion, an addendum valued at $1.4 million was also signed for arms, ammunitions, bullet proof jackets and helmets and medium/heavy machine guns for 10 Interceptor boats. The contract for the design, construction and delivery of these ten boats was signed on April 9 this year and is worth $6 million. The 14.5 metre long boats will have a cruising speed of 20 knots and a top speed of 35 knots.
Furthermore, another contract for the design, construction and delivery of one additional interceptor boat for the Mauritius Revenue Authority (MRA), at a cost of $600 000, was also signed on May 7. This boat will be used by the MRA to carry out harbour/anchorage and coastal patrols.
Fong Weng-Poorun praised the signing of the contract between her government and the Indian shipyard as a milestone in the long standing diplomatic and defence relations between the two countries, especially in the maritime security domain.
She said continued Indian support for the National Coast Guard (NCG) has helped Mauritius in beefing up surveillance over its Exclusive Economic Zone in the Indian Ocean. The latest order of naval vessels is by far the biggest ever made by the country.
She recalled that it is the first time that the Mauritius Police Force is acquiring so many vessels over such a short period of time. The NCG has a fleet of four ships which are 20 years old and it is time to gradually replace them by more modern ones, she said. According to the plan of the Government of Mauritius, additional ships will have to be purchased to strengthen the fleet with a view to meeting the requirements for the ocean economy and to reinforce maritime security, more specifically piracy challenges.
Re-used with the kind permission of http://www.defenceweb.co.za