MAURITIUS TO GET OWN NAVAL ASSETS TO KEEP TERRITORIAL WATERS SAFE
The visit of an Indian navy ship in Port Louis has been used to announce that Mauritius will be getting an own ocean going patrol vessel by 2014, boosting the capacity of the National Coast Guard significantly.
The new 60 million US Dollars worth, 75 metre long ship will be equipped with the latest surveillance and communications equipment, and a precision guided cannon able to engage targets with high accuracy. A helicopter and launch assault boats are part of the equipment the new ship carries, adding a new dimension of capabilities to the coast guard when encountering illegal fishing boats or pirates.
The new naval asset will reportedly be able to stay at sea for up to a month with an operations radius of some 5.000 nautical miles. Presently only smaller coast guard vessels are being used to patrol the extensive territorial waters around Mauritius and Rodrigues.
The Indian navy ship will stay in Mauritius waters for some more time, assisting in patrolling alongside smaller boats before returning to India.
Neighbouring Seychelles has in recent years also significantly boosted both surface and aerial capabilities with new patrol boats and surveillance aircraft deployed 24 / 7 to secure the archipelago’s fishing and tourism industry, which had come under threat by ocean terrorists from Somalia before the tide turned this year to the better.
‘I am no expert but think that a new naval ship like this is a confidence building measure for instance for tourists coming to Mauritius with their yachts or to cruise ships calling on Port Louis. We have a lot of water to cover so perhaps we need more of those but it is very reassuring that our government is making such a heavy investment to protect our sea lanes and secure our beaches. Now if only on land we could see a similar effort’ a regular source from Mauritius said when passing the information, in reference to worrying crime rates which is causing extra concerns among tourism stakeholders. ‘We have concerns, yes, for one about our occupancy levels but surrounding this also the safety of our visitors. I think more has to be done to have patrols out, increase visibility of foot and car patrols. CCTV will of course help but the presence of cops on the streets is the best deterrent there is the source then added.
Be that as it may, the news of a new navy ship under construction is good news and its arrival will surely be reported here, so watch this space.