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Seychelles and US complete 2nd bilateral military operation within EEZ

Victoria, Seychelles | March 22, 2024, Friday @ 16:57 in National » GENERAL | By: Alisa Uzice Edited by: Betymie Bonnelame | Views: 4670
Seychelles and US complete 2nd bilateral military operation within EEZ

the agreement between the two parties was signed in July 2021. (Seychelles Nation)

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The Seychelles Defence Forces (SDF) and the United States Coast Guard have completed a second bilateral operation within the Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) of the island nation under an agreement signed between the two countries in July 2021.

This year is the second such operation conducted since the signing of the agreement on countering illicit transnational maritime activity operations in the Seychelles waters and the Indian Ocean. The first one was held in March last year.

The director of operations for the Seychelles Coast Guard, Major Hans Radegonde, told reporters that the operation lasted seven days at sea with eight boardings conducted.

"Our missions were mainly intelligence-based, we collaborated closely with our maritime operations centre," he said.

The bilateral agreement between the Seychelles and the United States government came about after both countries saw the need to promote greater cooperation in dealing with illicit transnational maritime activities. It was the first of its kind between the two countries and the first one between the U.S. and an eastern African country.

Such cooperation is achieved through the planning and execution of combined maritime operations where U.S. forces embarked on board the SDF vessels and conducted missions within the Seychelles' waters.

The cooperation allows both states to understand better the challenges that a small country like Seychelles faces to conduct operations over a vast maritime space effectively. It also allows the SDF personnel to operate with and learn from seasoned maritime forces with much more experience.

Apart from operational successes, the bilateral operation also allows the SDF to assess the training its personnel has participated in. This year participants who had just completed training as part of Cutlass Express 2024 were deployed and this provided an opportunity to validate everything they had learned.

The U.S. Chargé d'Affaires for Seychelles, Adham Loufti, said, "Our cooperation on maritime security is a visible sign of our mutual goal of a more secure and prosperous Indian Ocean region. It gives me great satisfaction to know that Seychelles and the United States continue to work side by side, demonstrating great dedication, courage and sacrifice to ensure the safety and security of our maritime spaces."

Loufti emphasised the importance of protecting the Indian Ocean region, especially considering the resurgence of piracy and the conflict in the Red Sea, which could impact the shipping routes in the area and in return the cost of food, medicine and fuel.

He said that the U.S. will continue to support Seychelles by transferring defence articles and services via the foreign military financing programme, and implementing a significant security cooperation initiative for maritime domain awareness in the western Indian Ocean.

This will also include "conducting assessments and sharing information to support institutional capacity building, sending dozens of students to the United States for professional military education and conducting subject matter expert exchange right here in Seychelles."

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Tags: Seychelles Defence Forces, United States Coast Guard

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