UK Helping Seychelles Battle Piracy in Indian Ocean

A team of UK Hydrographic Office (UKHO) experts is helping the government of Seychelles tackle piracy in the Indian Ocean on behalf of UK’s Foreign and Commonwealth Office.

Image Courtesy: UKHO

The engagement between UKHO and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Seychelles is aimed at strengthening maritime security and safety of navigation.

UKHO delivered a package of security of navigation, stabilization advice and training (SONSAT) aimed at helping Seychelles share vital maritime safety information with ships and partners in the region.

The series of maritime security capability development seminars and intelligence briefs included raising awareness of existing infrastructure and services, such as the World-Wide Navigational Warning Service (WWNWS) and Rescue Coordination Centres (RCCs), that could help them to circulate vital security information in the region. UKHO delegates provided advice and guidance on how to coordinate operations between these services effectively and within the realms of the required legal framework.

“As an island state that is hugely reliant on a buoyant tourism industry, the threat of piracy and illegal and unregulated fishing in the Indian Ocean is of huge concern to the Seychelles and its neighbors,” Paul Merchant, SONSAT Capability Development Manager at UKHO, commented.

“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.”

Piracy at sea can threaten the security of trade routes, costing the international economy an estimated USD 7 to USD 12 billion annually, according to UKHO.