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Mariners’ safety gets big boost | 29 July 2014

Seychelles has become the second island nation in the Western Indian Ocean to have a Navtex (navigational telex) broadcasting station.

Navtex is an international automated medium frequency direct-printing service for delivery of navigational and meteorological warnings and forecasts, as well as urgent marine safety information to ships.

The facility is a donation from the government of Japan through the implementation of the Djibouti Code of Conduct of the International Maritime Organisation (IMO).

It was the Minister for Home Affairs and Transport Joel Morgan who accepted the donation yesterday from the special advisor to the secretary general of IMO, Yoshiaki Ito.

Present at the hand-over ceremony at the Seychelles Coast Guard (SCG) base at Ile Perseverance were the deputy chief of mission of Japan to the Republic of Seychelles Mikio Mori, principal secretary in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Maurice Loustau-Lalanne, director general of the Seychelles Maritime Safety Administration (SMSA) Captain Joachim Valmont, chief executive of the Seychelles Ports Authority (SPA) Lieutenant Colonel Andre Ciseau, commanding officer of the SCG Lieutenant Colonel Simon Dine among other distinguished guests.

The equipment donated to the government of Seychelles are the Navtex broadcast station, radio and satellite voice communication which will be under the responsibility of the SMSA but operated by the SCG.

With the Navtex broadcasting station the SCG will be able to disseminate navigational and meteorological warnings, rescue information and pirate attack warnings to vessels in the vicinity of Mahé up to 400 nautical miles.

Speaking to the press Capt Valmont said: “The Navtex station is going to be used to send safety information to seafarers. This system will enhance our service more and it will enable us to broaden our service to include smaller vessels. Since we have not been spared pirate attacks, we will be able to alert vessels in real time.”

Capt Valmont noted that there’s a main antenna at Mont Josephine and smaller ones at the SCG that allow for information to be sent to vessels that have a receiver.

Noting that most of the longer range vessels have a receiver, he said the SMSA is going to recommend that all vessels have one.

Since it is costly to install a receiver on a vessel, Capt Valmont said they will look into how they could help boat owners to get one.

“The arrival of the Navtex today is indeed a plus for Seychelles as we move towards the IMO white list, a significant step for our country and for our maritime industry and trade. It will be a seal of recognition that we are compliant with the International Convention on Standards of Training, Certification and Watch keeping for Seafarers (STCW), a convention prescribing minimum standards to which countries are obliged to meet or exceed,” Minister Morgan said in his address.

When addressing those present Mr Ito said: “The Seychelles had been hard hit by the effects of piracy. However the government has been proactive in building up the national capacity and capabilities through its own initiatives. Furthermore, we see the government of Seychelles offering to assist Somalia in building capacity for managing Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated (IUU) fishing. This demonstrates the spirit of cooperation and inter-regional support that the Code aims to foster.”

While addressing the guests Mr Mori stated why Japan places such an importance on giving assistance to Seychelles in various fields, maritime security in particular. “In June 2013, during Ticad V, H.E Prime Minister Shinxzo Abe stressed the importance of peace and security as a prerequisite for socio-economic development in Africa. In this regard Ticad V Yokohama Action Plan 2013-2017 encourages African countries to adopt measures that ensure the safety and security of maritime navigation, shipping and related activities. As an island country, safety at sea is all the more important for Seychelles.”

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