During the recent port visit of EU Naval Force Warship FS Floréal to the Seychelles, the ship conducted Local Maritime Capacity Building (LMCB) with the Seychelles Coastguard.
The training with the Seychelles Coastguard was conducted in three sections.
Firstly, two members of FS Floréal’s ship’s company conducted training on the Mercury coordination system at the Seychelles Coastguard Base on Mahé Island. Mercury is used by counter-piracy forces and regional states throughout the Indian Ocean, Gulf of Aden and Somali Basin to coordinate activity and share information. The system is administered by the Maritime Security Centre Horn of Africa (MSCHOA), which is part of the EU Naval Force Operational Headquarters based in Northwood HQ in the UK.
Secondly, cadets from the Seychelles Coastguard Academy visited the ship and were briefed on the systems and equipment aboard the French Floréal Class frigate.
Finally, the French boarding team conducted training with a team from the Seychelles Coastguard, that included the progression on board a ship, searching of crew members on suspect vessels and dealing with a non-compliant crew during a boarding.
The Seychelles is a key regional partner in the fight against piracy off the coast of Somalia and in the Indian Ocean and EU Naval Force Ships regularly conduct port visits to the islands. The Seychelles have a Transfer Agreement with the European Union to transfer suspect pirates for prosecution. This happened most recently in January 2014 when five suspect pirates were transferred by the former EU Naval Force Flagship FS Siroco.
Press Release, April 30, 2014; Image: EU Navfor