(Seychelles News Agency) – Seychelles is setting up a Marine Police Investigation Unit to reinforce the archipelago’s capacity to implement maritime security and prevent illegal activities in Seychelles waters, the islands’ Minister for Home Affairs and Transport Joel Morgan announced this morning as EUCAP NESTOR donated a military standard speedboat to the Seychelles Coast Guard.
By: Joana Nicette
The unit will comprise of 12 officers from the Seychelles Police Force and it will work in close collaboration with the Seychelles Coast Guards in enforcing maritime safety regulations within Seychelles 1.3 million square kilometre exclusive economic zone (EEZ) of ocean space.
Morgan said “the unit will carry out investigations in matters such as drowning, capsizing and other incidents which happen at sea as well as assist in the fight against maritime piracy. It will also investigate in cases dealing with the smuggling in of illegal narcotics and other products into the country.”
A group of officers from the police, the coast Guard and the air force is currently following training facilitated by the EUCAP NESTOR in different aspects of maritime policing. These include enforcement of fisheries regulations to deal with those who fish illegally in Seychelles waters and in maritime domain awareness among other subjects.
Morgan said forensics training will be an important component of the training for the unit as investigative analysis will be an essential component of their work.
The setting up of the unit is also being facilitated by assistance from both the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) and the EUCAP NESTOR.
The Head of Mission of EUCAP NESTOR, Etienne de Poncins announced that very soon an expert in maritime policing will be attached to its Seychelles country office to assist with the setting up of the unit. He said EUCAP NESTOR will also develop the operations programme for the new unit.
Speedboat beefs up search capacity
Meanwhile the 6.43 metre speedboat EUCAP NESTOR donated to the Seychelles Coast Guard this morning, is expected to boost to its capacity to deal with maritime security issues.
The boat is equipped with state-of-the art technology such as electronic charts, GPS and radar. It has been described as ideal for use in search and rescue operations as well as in the boarding of other vessels.
“While maritime piracy out of Somalia has reduced this does not mean that it cannot re-surge. The root causes of piracy still exist on the ground so we have to remain vigilant,” Poncins stated.
Along with the speedboat, EUCAP NESTOR has also organized training for the Coast Guards personnel who will be manning the vessel.
“It is our policy that when we donate equipment it comes as a package complete with an operations manual and training. This is why we are currently training the coastguards in the handling and maintenance of this speedboat.”
Morgan hailed the partnership between Seychelles key partners such as EUCAP NESTOR and United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) as well as other regional organizations.
“EUCAP NESTOR is a great partner in helping us to strengthen our capacity and has been so right from the beginning and through its support like the UNODC it has enabled us to lead the fight against piracy,” said Morgan.
EUCAP NESTOR is a strengthening mission established by the European Union in order to enhance the maritime capacities of five countries in the Horn of Africa and the Western Indian Ocean namely Djibouti, Kenya, Somalia, Seychelles and Tanzania.