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  New passenger terminal on Praslin inaugurated   By Nadia Bedier   |11 February 2023

   New passenger terminal  on Praslin inaugurated     By Nadia Bedier   

The ERO Passenger Terminal

The new passenger terminal of the Kato Nwanr Island on Praslin was officially opened yesterday by President Wavel Ramkalawan and the Minister for Transport, Antony Derjacques.

The ceremony took place in the presence of the First Lady, Linda Ramkalawan, several ministers, Speaker of the National Assembly, Seychelles Ports Authority (SPA) officials and board members as well as other dignitaries.

“As a Praslinois, it is an utmost honour for me to see the accomplishment of such a project within nine months. This is part of the greater ‘Kato Nwanr Project’ which will transform this area of Baie Ste Anne. New development plans include more leisure and economic activities including a marina and transit hotel,” President Ramkalawan said.

He thanked all stakeholders for their contribution towards this project especially Minister Derjacques and his team, the SPA team, the three members of the National Assembly on the island with particularly commendation for the building contractor Harikrishna Builders.

He also expressed his gratitude to all Praslinois who have expressed their interest in taking part in the Kato Nwanr development project.

He also expressed plans for future developments in other areas of Praslin such as the new market and police station in Baie Ste Anne and a dojo, entrepreneurship atelier in the ex-STC area and sports facilities in Grand Anse.

President Ramkalawan expressed that Praslin has an important role to play in our economy and that is something he values greatly.

In his welcoming remarks at the ceremony, the chief executive (CEO) of the Seychelles Ports Authority (SPA), Sony Payet, retraced the journey for the construction of the new terminal.

Phase 1 saw the construction of the jetty which started in October 2018 and was completed in June 2020 at a total cost of R18.4 million. The terminal building which had been conceptualised to start right after the completion of the jetty was unfortunately delayed because of the Covid- 19 pandemic. A delay which was seen as a ‘blessing in disguise’. This allowed SPA and its stakeholders more time for consultation and better planning.

Phase 2, which was the construction of the terminal building, started in April 2022 and was completed within nine months at a cost of R16 million, a three-month delay from the original plans. The terminal, which is expected to be operational in a few weeks, was fully funded by SPA.

“The inauguration of the new terminal today also depicts one of the key strategies of SPA which is to separate passenger and cargo operations which are often not compatible in the same area due to various reasons especially safety reason. This has been successfully done on Praslin and the same will eventually follow on La Digue and Mahé,” Mr Payet shared.

Following Mr Payet’s remarks, Minister Derjacques addressed the invitees where he expressed his gratitude to be able to share this accomplishment which is commendable for SPA, his ministry, Praslin island and the Praslinois community.

“The new passenger terminal of Kato Nwanr Island which we are inaugurating today will open up Praslin to the world. It will shed light on such a pristine piece of paradise which the Seychelles has been blessed with. It will open doors for greater opportunities for both economical and touristic development. It might even create opportunities in other potential sectors,” Minister Derjacques pointed out.

“The development of more modern, sustainable and safe facilities is one of our national priorities and this will also assist in the development of the country as a whole.”

Minister Derjacques expressed his appreciation for the current passenger terminal which has been operational since 1970 and have served the islands for over 50 years.  Over these years, traffic between the islands have increased considerably. In 2011, more than 587,000 passengers travelled between Mahé, Praslin and La Digue. In 2022, in the aftermath of the Covid-19 pandemic on the tourism sector, more than 679,000 passengers travelled between the islands. Lest we forget all the raw materials and commodities used by the Praslinois come via cargo ships. Over the years various reparation and extension work have taken place but now it has served its purpose.  The current terminal shall now be turned into a Coast Guard base to ensure maritime security around the inner islands.

The new terminal building comprises ticketing offices, restaurant, conference room, car rental and destination management companies’ stations and better luggage collection areas. This terminal will complement the adjacent cargo terminal which shall also be further developed to include cold storage facilities, warehouses, specialised offshore facilities with more ‘haut de gamme’ products and better parking facilities.

“Today, it is an immense joy to witness the inauguration of the passenger terminal. It is of great importance for us in Baie Ste Anne, it is opening doors for development on Praslin. The current one has served its time and now we move to a new one with better facilities. This now shows that Praslin is developing gradually and with an increased population we now need more career opportunities and as a touristic island the terminal will bring much benefit for the tourism industry,” Christopher Gill said, expressing his impression of the new terminal which shall serve both the Baie Ste Anne and Praslinois community.

The new passenger terminal has been baptised ‘ERO Passenger Terminal’ which was the winner of a competition launched recently to give a name for the terminal. A total of 26 participants participated and Marthe Joseph of Seychelles NATION was the winner (See separate story). The aim of the competition was to come up with a name that depicts the history and culture of Seychelles, particularly Praslin. Ms Joseph received her prize during the ceremony.

Also during the ceremony yesterday, Robert Grandcourt and President Ramkalawan unveiled the Seafarers’ Monument sculpted by Joseph Norah. The monument which was sponsored by Mr Grandcourt and some other Praslinois, represents all Seychellois from the first settlers to the current generations. It shows the love of our people for the sea and so many sacrifices done by seafarers over the years to provide for their families.

There were blessings from Bishop Alain Harel, Father Bruno, Father John Jean Louis  and Deacon Tasiana Bossy from SIFCO (Seychelles Interfaith Council).

The ceremony ended with a symbolic crossover of ferries by Cat Cocos, Cat Rose and the Coast Guard.


Photos by Romano Laurence

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