Vijay acquires own dredger | 05 November 2019
- A boon for Seychelles
By Laura Pillay
The very first dredging machine in Seychelles, a newly-acquired piece of equipment by the Vijay Construction Company, was yesterday morning launched at Providence Industrial Estate by President Danny Faure.
The dredger, a specialist floating vessel designed to excavate material such as rubbish, sand and coral from a water environment for land reclamation and coastal development purposes among other uses, has been custom-built for the company in China over the past 9 months at a cost of R35 million, although it is expected to total in at R50 million by the time it is eventually fully-equipped during coming months.
The 40-metre long by 15-metre wide vessel, requires only 1.7 metres of water to stay afloat and has a pump capacity of 5000 cubic metres per hour. Of the 5000 cubic metres, at least 10 percent is solid materials which are being extracted, while the rest is water.
It is equipped with a main engine supported by an auxiliary engine, a lighting system, a hydraulic system and an arm allowing it to excavate up to 15 metres deep.
Addressing the dignitaries at the launch, founder and managing director of Vijay Construction, VJ Patel, emphasised the need for Seychelles to be self-reliant and self-sustaining, noting that the acquisition of the dredger eliminates the need to recruit external business organisations to carry out dredging woks which is costly to the government.
“Seychelles is a small economy and in any small economy, it is difficult to be self-reliant, and self-sufficient in manpower and all of the resources. We are surrounded by sea and I have seen over the years that the government has plans to do reclamation but there is no land. We have mountains but we want to preserve the mountains as if we start building everywhere, then the beauty will be gone. We want to preserve that and the government was right in initiating reclamation and I have seen that this is exclusively done by outside companies and we always have been on the move to do something and to do it locally. Because when it is done locally, there is more benefit. The country benefits because first of all, it is less costly, people get employed so there are benefits all around,” Mr Patel noted.
Mr Patel further thanked the government for ongoing support and encouragement, thanking President Faure personally for attending the launch.
Principal secretary for Investment, Michel Nalletamby, also noted the importance of reclamation off the coast of Seychelles islands to allow for growth and development as the Seychelles, comprising 450 square kilometres of land, shares over 115 islands present several space limitations and constraints.
“Therefore, the use of oceanic space, which we have been so generously blessed with, is the sole, sound option we have. It became obvious many years ago, that reclamation of the sea, off the coast of the islands, were the most viable option to allow for our growth,” Mr Nalletamby noted.
He stated numerous projects which have been realised through reclamation including the newer part of Victoria, connection towards South of Mahé island where the airport is situated during previous decades, and the Providence Highway, the fishing ports, satellite island of Aurore, Perseverance and Eden Island among others and reaffirmed the government’s support for local businesses.
“Clearly, as the private sector grows, the requirement for space will grow, thus the need to look towards dredging and reclamation. President Faure announced recently the plans for reclamation. So far, the reclamation works in the country have been by foreign-owned dredgers as we did not have the appropriate equipment locally. In addition to the competition that this dredger brings, the availability of a dredger locally on our doorsteps, gives us the advantage of less mobilisation time and costs and hopefully lower reclamation costs,” Mr Nalletamby noted.
President Faure and dignitaries were then invited to view the dredger and President Faure had the pleasure of switching it on from the control tower, for a brief demonstration.
The operator of the vessel, Franky Valentin, a former driver for Vijay Construction, received training, along with other employees to operate and maintain the new machinery by Chinese experts.
The accompanying photographs taken by our photographer Joena Meme show guests being guided on a tour of the dredger.