Reacting to oil spills: Seychelles' and French forces undertake first spill simulation exercise 

General |Author: Sedrick Nicette Edited By: Betymie Bonnelame | April 25, 2024, Thursday @ 16:46| 3774 views

The final assessment of the training took place on Thursday at the Seychelles Coast Guard (SCG) base. (Seychelles News Agency)

The Seychelles Defence Forces (SDF) and the French Navy have collaborated in training to mitigate the effects of oil spills in the island nation's waters.

The final assessment of the training took place on Thursday at the Seychelles Coast Guard (SCG) base, where members of the SCG, along with other relevant partners took part in an oil spill simulation exercise.

"This exercise is part of full training that started earlier this week, with the French Navy and the SCG, in relation to anti-pollution measures," said the chief commissioner of the French Navy, Timothee Sevaistre, in an interview with the press.

There are three French experts present in Seychelles to deliver the course, which features theory and practical elements.

Sevaistre explained that the training is being done at the Coast Guard base because in the case of maritime pollution, they have the equipment that will be put to use in such situations.

Other agencies participating in the training include the Seychelles Fire and Rescue Services Agency (SFRSA) and the Seychelles Ports Authority (SPA).

"For now the training is being done at the Coast Guard base, but in the future, we would want to have a full scale exercise, where everyone will be involved," added Sevaistre.

This is the first time that such an exercise has taken place in Seychelles and it is now becoming even more important for the island nation to be prepared for an oil spill. This is especially important with the situation in the Red Sea, which is causing many more ships to use routes closer to Seychelles' waters and there is the threat that oil spills can become more common.

Sevaistre explained that France and Seychelles will continue to work together to ensure that the proper equipment is available and  properly maintained, so that they are ready for use in any eventualities.

While this is the first practical oil spill exercise done in Seychelles, with the French partnership, in 2023, Seychelles was part of a table-top exercise, dubbed the 'Western Indian Ocean Pollution Regional Exercise (WIOPOLREX). The exercise was organised jointly by the Regional Coordination Operations Centre (RCOC) in Seychelles and the Regional Maritime Information Fusion Centre (RMIFC) in Madagascar.

Through the exercise, the two regional centres were able to assess preparedness to respond to oil pollution incidents in the region, similar to the incident on July 25, 2020, where MV WAKASHIO spilled approximately 1,000 metric tonnes of oil at sea, off the southeastern coast of Mauritius.

Tags: Seychelles Defence Forces, Seychelles Coast Guard, French Navy


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