R100m Japanese grant to boost maritime safety | 04 October 2019
Seychelles and Japan have officially signed off on the Japanese grant of R100 million, or around 800 Japanese Yen, which President Danny Faure had secured from the Japanese government in September during Ticad 7.
Geared at improving the capacity of maritime safety, the grant was made official through a memorandum of understating signed yesterday by Designated Minister Macsuzy Mondon and Japan’s ambassador to Seychelles Tominaga Makoto at the department of foreign affairs.
Minister Mondon, who holds the portfolio for the department of home affairs, was accompanied by a number of officials from the Seychelles Police Force and department of home affairs, most notably the Commissioner of Police Kishnan Labonte.
The project will go towards the construction of a facility that will house the Anti-Narcotics Bureau (ANB) and the marine police unit as well as equip the maritime service unit with various specialised equipment and speed patrol boats.
It will be constructed at Perseverance.
Ambassador Makoto noted that with Seychelles and Japan being island states, maritime security is a crucial issue and a common concern for both.
“During President Faure’s bilateral meeting with Prime Minister [Shinzo] Abe on the occasion of Ticad 7, they agreed on the importance of a free and open Indian and Pacific Ocean initiative,” he stated.
“Although the number of pirate activities has reduced drastically, at the same times crime like drug smuggling, smuggling of weapons and illegal unreported and unregulated fishing have increased. That is why the government of Japan has decided to offer this grant.”
The ambassador added that without a strong maritime enforcement it would be quite difficult for Seychelles to enhance its blue economy goals, adding that he is looking forward to the completion of the facility.
Meanwhile Minister Mondon thanked the government of Japan on behalf of President Faure and the people of Seychelles.
“A lot still needs to be done and the support you have given us will definitely help, and I can assure you Excellency that the police force will make good use of what is being offered to them today,” the minister stressed.
Deputy Commissioner for operation, Romano Songor, later explained that the building that will be constructed will have storage facilities for boats that have been seized during marine operations, a workshop and other such facilities that will assist the police force to fight maritime crime.
However it is presently unknown when the project will break ground.
“We conducted an assessment on maritime security two years ago and another assessment was undertaken when we were approached with the possibility of a grant. We found that we do not have enough resources – both in regards to human resource as well as infrastructure – for us to continue with our operations, so the grant will help us out a lot,” deputy Commissioner Songor explained.
The Japanese government has also offered training programmes to enhance the capacity of local police officers in relations to maritime threats.