UK, Seychelles cooperate to tackle piracy in the Indian Ocean

The UK Hydrographic Office (UKHO) has presented Security of Navigation, Stabilisation Advice and Training (SONSAT) to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Seychelles. The training is designed to improve maritime security and safety of navigation in the Indian Ocean by helping Seychelles share crucial maritime safety information with ships and partners in the region.

Piracy at sea can puts the security of trade routes at risk, costing the international economy about US $7 to $12 billion every year. With some of the world’s busiest trade routes passing through Seychelles, piracy is a big concern for the country its neighbours.

To address this situation, authorities must understand their responsibilities when broadcasting maritime safety information, so they can inform ships in the area of issues that could threaten their safety, UKHO says.

To achieve this aim, UKHO experts conducted a series of maritime security capability development seminars and intelligence briefs to government officials in the Seychelles from 18 – 22 February 2019. One area of focus regarded increasing awareness of current infrastructure and services, like the World-Wide Navigational Warning Service (WWNWS) and Rescue Coordination Centres (RCCs). These could help them communicate important security information in the region.

Namely, UKHO delegates provided advice and guidance on how to coordinate operations between these services effectively and within the realms of the required legal framework.

This training is part of UK’s effort to enhance maritime capability and security in the Indian Ocean region and support the Regional Centre for Operation Coordination (RCOC) in Victoria, the capital of the Seychelles.

Paul Merchant, SONSAT Capability Development Manager at UKHO, explained that the training is specifically tailored to the needs of Seychelles, and added that:

“By working together with the Seychelles to improve Maritime Domain Awareness (MDA) in the region, and by building awareness of the legalities and obligations placed upon nations when broadcasting maritime safety information, we can help tackle the issues that threaten the safety of our merchant mariners”