At the end of April 2015, Combined Task Force 150 (CTF150) flagship FS Var visited Victoria, the Capital of the Seychelles situated in the Indian Ocean to meet the Seychelles high representatives and Coast Guard.
Seychelles are already fully integrated into the Combined Maritime Forces (CMF) organisation and have contributed to their missions on several occasions. CTF 150’s mandate is about promoting the conditions for security and stability in the maritime environment by countering terrorist acts and related illegal activities, which terrorists use to fund their operations or conceal their movements throughout the region.
Captain (Capt) Crignola, French Navy, Commander of CTF150 (CCTF150) had the opportunity to meet with Mr. Charles Bastienne, Minister for Home Affairs and Mr. Maurice Loustau-Lalanne, Principal Secretary for Foreign Affairs. Here he thanked the Seychelles authorities for their continued support to Combined Maritime Forces operations since joining CMF in 2012
CCTF150 also met Brigadier General Leopold Payet, Seychelles People’s Defence Forces Chief of Staff. Both authorities shared their views on the regional maritime environment and exchanged views and information on common maritime security concerns. CCTF150 also highlighted the role played by Seychelles, as a leader for maritime security in Indian Ocean and East Africa.
“The Seychelles has been deeply involved in the maritime security of the region including counter-piracy activities, for some years now” said CCTF151. “They played a vital role since the rise of piracy in the Indian Ocean to fight against that threat. They also have a good knowledge of the maritime environment and for these reasons, it is important for us to keep working together and to exchange our views of the regional situation”.
It was clear from the discussions that whilst piracy activities are decreasing in the region, the Seychelles are just as concerned by other regional threats such as drug smuggling and terrorist activities. Furthermore, Seychelles are strategically located in the middle of the Indian Ocean, which makes the archipelago a key place in terms of maritime security awareness and logistical support for CTF150’s ships. Capt. Crignola added: “The development of Seychelles Coast Guards assets and capacities makes the country a good partner in the region to contribute to ensure a stable maritime environment”.
The Seychelles are strategically positioned within the Indian Ocean and proposed further air assets in support of CTF150 missions, a decision warmly welcomed by Capt. Crignola on behalf of CMF.