The fight against piracy was given a boost today as British High Commissioner Matthew Forbes officially handed over a patrol boat, “The Fortune,” a gift from the UK government, to Lt. Colonel Michael Rosette of the Seychelles Coast Guard at their base at Bois de Roses.
Formerly owned by the Royal National Lifeboat Institute (RNLI), the boat was bought by the UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office and donated to Seychelles after a request for assistance. It was transported to Victoria by the UK Royal Fleet Auxiliary ship, Diligence.
The Fortune will now form a vital part of the Coast Guard’s operations, contributing towards its short-range, anti-piracy patrols in the inner islands, as well as search and rescue and fisheries enforcement operations.
The 47-foot, Tyne class lifeboat, like all RNLI vessels, is able to “self right” in just seven seconds if it rolls over, helping to protect the men and women of the Seychelles Coast Guard who work hard to guard these shores.
Handing over “The Fortune,” British High Commissioner, Matthew Forbes said:
“We know, and appreciate, just how committed the Seychelles government and Coast Guard are to protecting Seychelles from the threat of piracy, and we are delighted at this opportunity to show our support by donating ‘The Fortune.’ Tackling piracy remains a concern not just for Seychelles but for the Indian Ocean region and wider international community. I know that during its time with the RNLI, this boat helped saved the lives of 133 people; I hope that it will continue to be of such good service to the Seychelles.”
Also present at the ceremony were Ministers Jean Paul Adam and Joel Morgan, the heads of EU Diplomatic Missions, members of the High Level Committee on Piracy, and representatives from EUNAVFOR, the Ports and Maritime Authorities and the UK, French, Indian, and Portuguese military.
Accepting the gift on behalf of Seychelles, Lt. Colonel Michael Rosette of the Seychelles Coast Guard said: “While the Seychelles Coast Guard has been actively involved in combating piracy with the available assets, this boat, which has been named “PB Fortune,” will be utilized around the Mahe plateau for search and rescue duties, anti-piracy patrols, and other such activities and will further contribute towards our ongoing efforts to combat piracy in the region.”
RNLI Station engineer (Salcombe), Andy Harris, who looked after the boat between 1988 until 2007, has also been in Seychelles assisting the Seychelles Coast Guard to ensure it is in top condition it for its future missions. He will pass over the safekeeping of “The Fortune” to Second Lt. Alex Ferrep who will command the boat.