Unstable maritime conditions in northern region of Seychelles’ EEZ |02 February 2024
Mariners urged to be more cautious
The Seychelles Maritime Safety Authority and the Seychelles Coast Guard have issued a cautionary advisory, urging heightened vigilance in the northeast region of the Seychelles’ exclusive economic zone.
All boat owners, operators, and fishermen are strongly recommended to exercise caution, report any suspicious activities and to inform the authorities before leaving port.
They made the call during a joint press conference along with the Seychelles Fishing Authority (SFA) yesterday at the Seychelles Maritime Safety Authority (SMSA) headquarters at Trinity House.
Hans Radegonde, director of operations at the Seychelles Coast Guard (SCG), shared that “for the time being, we consider the situation unstable.”
“There are some activities that are ongoing and since October/November 2023, the activities have escalated until we were faced with the hijacking situation. The SCG is monitoring the situation from north to east of our exclusive economic zone (Ile Denis and Bird Island) and if the situation aggravates, we will inform the public. Any suspicious movement should be reported,” urged Major Radegonde.
Deputy CEO of SMSA, Andy Gobine noted that for the safety of all mariners, the SMSA has issued a notice “advising all boat owners, operators and fishermen alike that due to the recent increase in piracy sightings and attacks within the north east sector of the EEZ, to be mindful of the seriousness of this situation and to take extra precaution whilst navigating within the area.”
Boat owners, operators and fishermen alike are being reminded to immediately report any suspicious activities or approaches within that area and to also ensure their vessel is equipped with a functioning automatic location communicator (ALC) or long-range identification and tracking (LRIT) and a registered marine radio.
Reports are to be communicated to the Seychelles Joint Search and Rescue Centre (JRCC) on 4290900 or 4224616 or by email email@example.com
The following communication channels can also be used for reporting VHF channel 16, MF/HF 2182.0 kHz.
During yesterday’s press conference, the media received more details about the recent hijacking of a Sri Lankan fishing boat.
According to Captain Gerald Wong-Pool, director of the National Information Sharing and Coordination Centre (NISCC), there is active monitoring of activities in the region. “We are also communicating and collaborating with foreign counterparts to monitor the situation. Information was received from Sri Lanka that there was a possible hijacking and this was disseminated nationally,” said Mr Wong-Pool.
Major Radegonde said the Sri Lankan boat was located 600 to 700 nautical miles from Mahe.
“There is a specific zone outside our EEZ where there is high concentration of Sri Lankan and Seychellois boats. At the moment, the SCG is present in that zone and we are alerting the Seychellois boats to come closer to Mahé to avoid the pirates,” said Major Radegonde.
“In our EEZ, we are still safe but as we all witnessed, the boat was hijacked close to our EEZ. In the past the pirates did come into our waters through the Mozambique Channel. Pirates like to target this area. We are monitoring the situation and there are major activities by the pirates in that region. Everyone should be on alert,” added Major Radegonde.
Meanwhile, Roddy Allisop, monitoring control and surveillance manager at SFA, has urged everyone to inform SFA when going out at sea and to have a radio onboard.
The Seychelles Coast Guard is part of the Combined Maritime Forces CTF 151, established in January 2009 with a specific piracy mission-based mandate, currently endorsed under UNSCR 2608 (2021), to contribute to the protection of commerce’s free flow.