Speedy boat from India boosts Seychelles’ Coast Guard
The newest addition to the Seychelles Coast Guard fleet. ( Louis Tossaint, Seychelles News Agency)
(Seychelles News Agency) - A new, speedy interceptor boat that will be used for coastal surveillance and search and rescue operations is boosting the capacity of the Seychelles Coast Guard.
The boat was officially handed over Thursday by the Indian Coast Guard director general, Vice Admiral H.C.S. Bisht.
Named “Hermes” after a fishing bank of the Seychelles as per tradition, the 27.5- metre boat will also help maritime officials in their anti-smuggling and anti-poaching operations.
Seychelles chief of defence forces, Brigadier Leopold Payet, said “the addition of this new craft to our fleet will boost our capability to undertake surveillance and (the) safeguarding of our maritime areas and enhance our capability to deal with various maritime crimes within our region.”
Powered by twin water-jet propulsion system, the interceptor can reach a maximum speed of 45 knots. The boat – a full aluminum alloy hull – is aso light and can operate effectively in shallow water.
President James Michel during the touring of the new fast interceptor boat. ( Louis Tossaint, Seychelles News Agency) Photo License: CC-BY
The Seychelles archipelago consists of 115 islands widely-spread over an exclusive economic zone of 1.3 square kilometres in the western Indian Ocean. This makes it difficult for local enforcement authorities to spot illegal activities.
Bisht said the donated boat symbolizes the deep and historic ties between the two maritime nations and further cements the ties towards the achievement of common security objectives in the region.
The new interceptor is the third vessel donated by India after PS Topaz and PS Constant. The Seychelles Coast Guard has now a fleet of 15 boats, including four ships for patrol over 40 metres in length, three between 20 to 30 metres and eight for fast response.
India is the first strategic military partner of Seychelles. Payet added that India remains the major contributor to the Seychelles People Defense Force (SPDF) in terms of training and expert support.
The donation of the interceptor was proposed by Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi during Seychelles President James Michel’s visit to India last August.
A Donnier aircraft will be delivered at the end of the year as part of an agreement signed during the presidential visit.