Seychelles Defence Forces open Coast Guard base on Praslin Island
The transfer was formalised on Tuesday with the signing of an agreement by Brigadier Michael Rosette, and the Minister for Transport, Antony Derjacques. (Romano Laurence)
(Seychelles News Agency) - The Seychelles Defence Forces are strengthening their presence in the islands of Praslin and La Digue with the transfer of the former Baie Ste Anne passenger terminal to the Seychelles Coast Guard for its base.
The transfer was formalised on Tuesday with the signing of an agreement by the Chief of Defence Forces, Brigadier Michael Rosette, and the Minister for Transport, Antony Derjacques, in the presence of the Commander in Chief, President Wavel Ramakalwan.
In his address, Ramkalawan said that the government will be ramping up its efforts in the fight against illegal activities such as drug trafficking.
"This base forms part of the government's strategy to have better oversight of the Praslin and La Digue region. We all know that there is a lot happening here, and today I wish to reassure the people of Seychelles that the fight against these illegal activities will continue," he said.
The President announced that soon he will be naming the people who are involved in drug trafficking.
He also said that the largest fuel storage unit for Coast Guard ships would be built on Assumption Island in partnership with the Seychelles Petroleum Company (SEYPEC) as well as a greater military presence on Providence Island in the Farquhar Group in order to tackle illegal fishing taking place from boats coming from Madagascar.
On his side, Brigadier Rosette emphasised the importance of strengthening the presence of the Defence Forces in Seychelles' second and third most populated islands.
"Our presence in different strategic points of our territory gives us an operational advantage, that also ensures that we are able to react more efficiently in a reasonable time frame. This can create a big difference, especially in the outcome of operations such as medical evacuations and search and rescue missions. This can be the difference between life and death," said Rosette.
He added that the new base is equipped with basic facilities and offers an opportunity for more personnel to be added on.
"The station on Praslin will bring the defence forces closer to the Praslin and La Digue communities. Apart from ensuring safety and peace in the region, it is also an opportunity for the youth of these communities to start a career with the defence forces," said Rosette.
Baie St Anne Terminal was built in 1970 in order to facilitate the transportation of passengers and cargo between the main inner islands.
In 2022 with the increase in passengers and cargo, the service was transferred to the newly built terminal called ERO, at another location in Baie St Anne.
The old terminal was then deemed an ideal location for the Seychelles Coast Guard to establish new facilities.
Derjacques noted that this transfer marks a new phase in the history of this Jetty.
"With its rich history and sentimental value for the people of Praslin, the Baie St Anne Jetty is not being erased, it is now officially taking up a new function as a base for the Coast Guard, a crucial service for the security of our islands and the fight against illegal activities," said the Minister.