Two new patrol vessels gifted by the Sri Lankan government to help in maritime surveillance officially joined the Seychelles Coast Guard fleet on Friday.
The two inshore patrol wave riders arrived in Seychelles last week on an Indian navy ship — INS AIRAVAT — after the government of India responded to Seychelles’ request for assistance with the transfer.
The vessels “have been constructed to undertake surveillance, rapid intervention and safeguarding our maritime areas, and also boost our fight against maritime piracy,” the Chief of Defence Forces, Clifford Roseline, said at the inaugural ceremony at the Coast Guard SCG headquarters.
Officers of the Seychelles Coast Guard underwent a three-week training course in Sri Lanka where they learnt how to operate the vessels, which will be used to patrol in the island nation’s waters.
Seychelles, an archipelago in the western Indian Ocean, has an Exclusive Economic Zone of 1.4 million square kilometres which makes it difficult for local enforcement authorities to spot illegal activities at sea.
“The two vessels have been battle-tested and proven to be ideal for the type of operations our local coast guard have to undertake,” added Roseline.
The wave rider vessels are manufactured by the Inshore Patrol Craft Construction Project of the Naval Boatbuilding Yard at Welisara in Sri Lanka. They are 15 metres long and can carry 10 personnel. It is powered by two Yanmar diesel engines which can produce a top speed of 42 knots.The government of Seychelles has paid for the construction of a third boat expected to be built by the end of February.
The donations of the two boats followed a request by the President of Seychelles, Danny Faure, during a bilateral discussion held with his Sri Lankan counterpart, President Maithripala Sirisena, in a state visit to Seychelles in October 2018.
The Sri Lankan chargé d’affaires, Tharushi Gunathilake, conveyed her sincere thanks to the Sri Lankan navy, which executed the construction process of these patrol crafts complying with the highest standards using the state-of-the-art technology.
“On behalf of the government of Sri Lanka I would like to express my highest administration to those who extended their fullest support and cooperation to successfully conclude this project,” she said.