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Building local capacity to boost maritime and port safety in Seychelles | 27 August 2019

Building local capacity to boost maritime and port safety in Seychelles

PS Renaud addressing delegates at the launch of the workshop

With an estimated 90% of the country’s imports arriving by sea, it is crucial for Port Victoria to satisfy the international norms established by the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) and ensure the country’s maritime security.

In this regard, a national training workshop on maritime security and the International Ship and Port Facility (ISPS) Code is currently underway to enhance and sustain maritime security within the waters of the Seychelles and on Seychelles flagged vessels.

Held at the Seypec House from August 26-30, the five-day workshop is being facilitated by three consultants from the International Maritime Organisation (IMO)and hosted by the Seychelles Maritime Safety Administration (SMSA).

It brings together officers from the Seychelles Ports Authority (SPA) as well as representatives of other organisations involved in maritime and port security, such as the Anti-Narcotics Bureau, customs division, Department of Risk and Disaster Management (DRDM), Land Marine and the Seychelles Maritime Safety Administration (SMSA) among others .

The participants are being trained to teach the personnel from their respective organisations, through short presentations and other means, as well as oversee the implementation and the enforcement of the ISPS Code.

This is with the overall aim of enhancing capacity building for the improvement of the implementation of the ISPS Code and create a safety culture throughout the industry.

It is to be noted that the training comes after recommendations made by the IMO on ways to improve the country’s port and maritime security and is among the various measures being undertaken to meet US port and maritime safety standards.

A report published by the United Coast Guard in 2018 claimed that Seychelles was not maintaining effective anti-terrorism measures at its port adding that the country’s designated authority’s oversight, access control measures, cargo control measures, and facility monitoring measures were all deficient.

The principal secretary for civil aviation, ports and marine, Alan Renaud, who officially launched the workshop yesterday, emphasised on the importance of strengthening Seychelles’ ports against various maritime threats such as terrorism, piracy, drug and human trafficking.

“The world is an increasingly dangerous place, though we in Seychelles like to think of ourselves being thousands of miles from anywhere, we are still a part of the global maritime security environment and we have to do our part to be a responsible flag-state country,” PS Renaud said.

As a contracting member of the Safety of Life at Sea (Solas) convention, it is mandatory for Seychelles to adopt and implement the ISPS standards.

He further noted that the ISPS Code is not just a set of rules but, more than that, it is a framework designed to better manage and reduce security threats to ships and port and facilities, and is meant to have a holistic approach and include the participation of every relevant stakeholder.

“What’s pleasing to me, is the different types of people that are in this room today. One of the things you’ll find out in security is that it’s not just about one single department; it’s not just about the Seychelles Ports Authority, everyone on the port has to communicate and play their part. The ships have to play their part and all stakeholders have to play their parts. It’s a multifaceted, multilayered thing and the diversity of people here is a reflection of that.”

Mourad Ghorbel, lead IMO consultant, explained that the workshop participants will be apprised of how the ISPS code should be implemented within the Seychelles, how to raise the security level in cases of breaches of security and other incidents, how to conduct the port facility security assessment, how to submit the Port of Victoria for approval to the designated authority and the compliance auditing process.

“They will also learn how to perform exercises and drills to test the effectiveness of those plans as well as how to do inspection, the multi-agency security approach and coordinate with each other.”

The training will come to a close on Friday with a certificate ceremony.

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