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Port Victoria gears up to meet US safety standards | 25 June 2019

Port Victoria gears up to meet US safety standards

The training in progress

Security specialists from the Naval Criminal Investigative Service (NCIS) based in the United States of America are assisting the Seychelles Ports Authority (SPA) with its loopholes in security at Port Victoria.

The aim is to raise the port’s standards to international safety norms.

The specialists are conducting a four-day port security training for a group of local security personnel from SPA, the Seychelles Coast Guard (SCG), the Anti-Narcotics Bureau (ANB), the Maritime and Rescue Coordination Centre (MRCC) and the Seychelles Maritime Safety Administration (SMSA).

The training includes how to stand a proper professional gate watch thus conducting proper search of vehicles, cargo and personnel.

The training is in line with recommendations from the United States Coast Guard (USCG) to remove Port Victoria from an advisory list for being unsafe after it discovered a number of deficiencies in terms of anti-terrorism security at the port. Being on the list resulted, as of April, in imposed conditions of entry on vessels arriving in US waters after having passed through the Seychelles port.

Physical security specialist Larron White from NCIS Security Training Assessment Assistance Team (STAAT) said that apart from providing the training, they will, from a list of deficiencies seen so far, also be providing the port authority with recommendations on how to fix the infrastructure as far as perimeters, installation of circuit cameras (CCTVs), manpower and also inspection of personnel and items.

He noted that NCIS will have a liaison officer in Seychelles for the monitoring process of the port security and through further assessment by NCIS this could see Seychelles’ port being struck off the US Coast Guard advisory list.

“I’ve entered the port for two days and I can tell you the security measures and procedures in place are far higher than most ports I’ve assessed. I have assessed over a hundred ports and the security measures that are in place (in Seychelles) have surpassed my expectations,” Mr White said.

For his part, port facility security officer, Ronny Alcindor, said SPA was already implementing such security measures required but with additional new techniques being received from NCIS it will help to provide better security in the best possible way.

He noted that with the port security personnel ready to impart their new knowledge and skills in security surveillance, for Seychelles port to be struck off the US Coast Guard advisory list will entirely depend on their input.

Mr Alcindor though said that security implementation at the port will be closely monitored so as to get the port off the advisory list. The training will end on Friday.

It was the US ambassador to Seychelles, David Reimer, who after paying a courtesy call on President Danny Faure at State House in April said the United States of America and Seychelles governments will work collaboratively so that Port Victoria is removed from a list of countries the USCG has found to have deficient anti-terrorism port measures in place.  

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