Seychelles maritime security forces' skills strengthened as EUCAP Nestor wraps up tailored training courses
The Seychelles Air Force’s Dornier 228K aircraft gifted by India in April last year, which is part of the SAF’s fleet of three aircraft (Seychelles Air Force)
(Seychelles News Agency) - Over 30 officers from three different units of the Seychelles forces engaged in maritime security duties are now better equipped to discharge their roles and responsibilities having completed three different training programmes intended to improve the capacity of Seychelles’ maritime security.
The training programmes for the Maritime Police Patrol Unit (MPPU), the Seychelles Air Force (SAF) and Seychelles Coast Guard (SCG) were developed with the assistance of EUCAP Nestor, a European-Union-funded initiative which works towards training and enabling countries around the horn of Africa and the western Indian Ocean to fight piracy in the region.
According to a press statement from EUCAP Nestor, the basic training courses were the first of their kind conducted in Seychelles that were tailored for the specific tasks and responsibilities of each specific unit and aimed at providing the units with current maritime basics and skills considered essential to executing their duties at sea and in the air.
After having spent between four to twenty seven weeks attending the three different training programmes the participants were presented with certificates last week.
EUCAP Nestor’s Head of Mission Etienne de Poncins said that the closing ceremonies, which he attended personally, were the successful results of “great cooperation” between his mission and the MPPU, SAF and SCG.
According to the statement, de Poncins also met with high-level officials of the Seychelles Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Home Affairs and Transport during the course of his visit to the archipelago. De Poncins also introduced officials to the new EUCAP Nestor head of the Seychelles’ country team Bo Holtse.
Seychelles Coast Guard training
The basic training programme for the Seychelles Coast Guard was a newly developed 27-week foundational training programme for nineteen privates recruited to the Seychelles Coast Guard, all of whom completed the course successfully.
|The nineteen privates recruited to the Seychelles Coast Guard in a souvenir photo after they were presented with their certificates (EUCAP Nestor) Photo License: CC-BY
According to EUCAP Nestor, who worked closely with SCG in developing the training and providing experts who supported the training instructors, the programme included modules such as maritime domain awareness, Seychelles maritime regulations and legislation, seamanship and navigation, marine engineering, border and excise control, maritime safety, maritime security, crime investigation, environmental response, and fisheries enforcement.
EUCAP Nestor has stated that it will continue to assist the SCG to run subsequent basic training courses which will be run for new recruits on a regular basis.
Seychelles Air Force training
In a previous interview with SNA, Major Michael Pouponneau, Commander of the Seychelles Air Force said the four-week Basic Unit Familiarization Training for the SAF was designed as an induction programme for aspiring airmen wishing to take up a career in aviation-related fields.
The training was conducted by officers of the unit and the embedded Maritime Aerial Surveillance expert from EUCAP NESTOR, Bjorn Erlandsson, and included technical subjects and in-flight demonstrations on the use of mission equipment on the Dornier 228 surveillance aircraft.
“I have learnt a lot of things and feel all at the unit should be exposed to such knowledge and skills,” said Airman Adrian Barbe, a student pilot.
EUCAP Nestor will continue to assist with the unit’s training needs and other essential support requirements such as equipment.
A new Marine Police Patrol Unit
The seamanship and legal training module developed by EUCAP Nestor for the newly-created Marine Police Patrol Unit (MPPU) ran for five weeks in total, with nine police officers enrolled in the course.
|The officers of the newly created Marine Police Patrol Unit who have completed the seamanship and legal training module developed by EUCAP Nestor (EUCAP Nestor) Photo License: CC-BY
“We are very grateful to EUCAP Nestor for providing this training,” said Police Commissioner Ernest Quatre. “Getting the unit up and running is a major priority for us. The unit will have a positive impact on maritime crime, environmental offences and the safety and security of our boating community.”
The seamanship training included the following sessions: navigation, boat handling, safety at sea, maintenance and legal training. The EUCAP Nestor expert from the Spanish Guardia Civil, José-Luis Manzanares Segura, was sent specifically to the Seychelles to develop and deliver the training for the MPPU.
During the legal training, various representatives of Seychelles maritime and law enforcement institutes provided lectures on maritime legislation, which was concluded with a visit to a real court hearing.
EUCAP Nestor confirmed that further assistance relating to the MPPU’s institutional set-up and other forms of essential support would be provided in due course.