Seychelles joins multi-national maritime force


Some members of the multi-national naval force during a training session

The Combined Maritime Forces (CMF) exists to promote security, stability and prosperity across approximately 2.5 million square miles of international waters, which encompass some of the world’s most important shipping lanes.

CMF’s main focus areas are defeating terrorism, preventing piracy, encouraging regional cooperation, and promoting a safe maritime environment, and are headquartered with the US Navy’s Fifth Fleet in the Kingdom of Bahrain.

Seychelles inclusion into this partnership follows meetings attended by officers of the Seychelles People’s Defence Forces (SPDF) in Manama in the Kingdom of Bahrain.

Following presentations made to the High Level Committee on Piracy, chaired by the Minister for Home Affairs and Transport Joel Morgan, and with a letter of invitation written by Vice-Admiral Fox of the United States Navy and Commander of the CMF to Brigadier Leopold Payet, Chief of Defence Forces in the SPDF, the government approved the invitation and with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs confirming the acceptance, moved to join the maritime force command.

The invitation by the CMF for Seychelles to join, the first nation from within the small island states in the Indian Ocean, is encouraging and demonstrates clearly the leadership role that the Seychelles has been playing in the domain of anti-piracy efforts to date. 

“An invitation by a leading maritime power such as the United States where Seychelles can and is contributing positively to the efforts regionally, despite our size, is reassuring and confirms that we are on the right track,” commented Brigadier Payet.

The joining to the CMF by Seychelles comes at an opportune time as it continues in its efforts to counter the effects of piracy.

Seychelles has taken a leading prosecutorial role in the region and shortly will be the host nation, sharing managerial role of a new centre that will coordinate prosecutions and intelligence gathering on pirate activity, which has proven to be invaluable to date for allied nations who have committed to eradicate such activities from the region.

The centre will also focus on recovering the assets of those who profit from pirate activity.

To date the Seychelles Coast Guard has provided numerous successful anti-piracy missions and relief, which has been equally recognised by foreign naval forces operating within the region.

Patrolling the seas
Seychelles has as well contributed by conducting numerous air surveillance missions and by allowing the operations of air assets from the EU Navfor, India and the US, providing real time data on pirate activity within the region.

Participation in the CMF is purely voluntary and no nation is asked to carry out any duty that it is unwilling to conduct. The contribution from each country varies depending on its ability to contribute assets and the availability of those assets at any given time.

The 26 nations that comprise the CMF are not bound by either a political or military mandate.  The CMF is a flexible organisation, which means that contributions can vary from the provision of a liaison officer at CMF HQ in Bahrain to the supply of warships or support vessels in task forces, and maritime reconnaissance aircraft based on land.

The CMF can also call on warships not explicitly assigned to CMF to give associated support, if they have the time and capacity to do so while undertaking their own national tasking.

Seychelles has at this time posted a member of the SPDF, Captain Antonio Gomme, to the CMF base located at Manama, Bahrain and the US Navy is currently hosting and assisting Seychelles with the lodging of its representative.

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