Seychelles Coast Guard arrests 7 after intercepting local vessel
The Seychelles patrol vessel “PS Etoile was deployed and the local vessel was intercepted around 160 nautical miles North East of Mahe. (Patrick Joubert)
(Seychelles News Agency) - Three Seychellois and four Indonesian nationals have been arrested after a local vessel was intercepted during the weekend, the Police and the Seychelles People's Defence Forces (SPDF) said in a joint press communiqué.
The communiqué on Sunday stated that during a coordinated operation by the Seychelles Air Force, Seychelles Coast Guard and National Information Sharing and Coordination Centre on May 22, one local fishing vessel, the BABA ALI, was intercepted in the Seychelles Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ).
The Seychelles patrol vessel “PS Etoile was deployed and the local vessel was intercepted around 160 nautical miles North East of Mahe. During the interception, the local vessel was observed throwing a suspicious package in the water which was later retrieved by Coastguard personnel. The vessel was guided to enter the port for further investigation," added the communiqué.
The President of Seychelles, Wavel Ramkalawan as the Commander in Chief of the SPDF, sent a message of congratulations on Monday to the Seychelles Air Force, Seychelles Coast guards, the Seychelles Police and the National Information Sharing and Coordination Centre (NISCC) on the recent interception.
“On behalf of government and the people of Seychelles I would like to commend the coordinated operation involved in the seizure. We admire your courage and persistence to keep our waters and our people safe. The government remains committed to keeping our islands free from drugs and above all protect the future of our youths. Well done to you all,” said Ramkalawan.
In a communique on Monday, the Police and the Seychelles People's Defence Forces (SPDF) said that preliminary testing of the suspicious package contained hashish and heroin worth around SCR20 million ($1.2 million).
|The package contained Hashish and heroin. (Police and the Seychelles People's Defence Forces) Photo License: CC-BY
The arrest on Saturday is the second for this month after 22 Pakistani nationals were arrested after two dhows were intercepted in the Seychelles' waters on suspicion of illegal fishing.
The Pakistani were expected to appear in court on Monday.
Seychelles, an archipelago in the western Indian Ocean, has a vast EEZ of 1.4 million square kilometres which presents a challenge when it comes to monitoring illegal activities in the island nation's waters.
NB: Updated May 25th 2021.