Following two recent pirate attacks off the Somali coast | 31 March 2017
Local authorities call for reinforced safety measures at sea
Fishermen, pleasure boats and other seafarers are being asked to be more vigilant and to reinforce all their security precautions before they go out at sea and when they are already out and to report any suspicious vessels to the authorities.
This advisory was issued on Wednesday by the High Level Committee on Maritime Security & Safety (HLCMSS) following an extraordinary meeting with the Minister for Home Affairs Mitcy Larue which discussed among other issues the two pirate attacks on vessels off the coast of Somalia earlier this month.
The committee is stressing that this is only a precautionary advice to remind all fishermen and everyone going out to sea that current security and safety measures in place should be complied with for their own security and safety especially in the wake of the recent pirate attacks.
It is to be noted that prior to these two attacks ̶ on Aris 13 which took place on March 13 and the one on Asayr2 which occurred on March 23 ̶ there had been no successful attacks against vessels at sea by pirates who operate from the coast of Somalia since 2012.
Following their meeting on Wednesday, the HLCMSS which comprise representatives of the Seychelles Fishing Authority (SFA), the Seychelles People’s Defence Forces (SPDF), the Seychelles Maritime Safety Administration (SMSA), the Seychelles Ports Authority (SPA), the Seychelles Marine Police (SMP), the Seychelles Police, the fishermen association… has acknowledged that while the two reported recent acts of piracy have been off the coast of Somalia, fishing boats and other vessels should continue to operate in the region with safety and security in mind at all times.
Raymond St Ange, a representative of the HLCMSS, said it is important at this point to engage all maritime safety and security stakeholders to advise the public to up precaution and vigilance at sea.
Captain Joachim Valmont, the director general of the SMSA, said they are stepping reinforcement of security and safety measures through more spot checks on vessels going out to sea, stopping them to verify if they have undertaken all security measures before leaving.
For his part Colonel Georges Adeline of the Seychelles Coast Guard said they are very concerned by the safety and security of our fishermen and everyone who goes out to sea.
“We do not want any repeat of the incidents of 2009 and 2011 when our citizens were taken hostage by pirates. Even though pirates’ activities have reduced over the years, Seychelles has always remained in the high risk area. We’ve tried our best and invest the maximum effort to reduce risks but unfortunately this does not depend on us alone but also on the international community and we have to be concerned,” he stressed.
He went on to add that the SPDF has always maintained its presence in the area under its surveillance but that now it has to reinforce its vigilance.
Meanwhile the association of fishermen has also expressed its concern with regard to local fishers.
Mr Beatty Hoareau said they are going to call a meeting to give more information to local fishermen and give them some important contact numbers to call in case they notice suspicious activities or vessels while out at sea.