SEYCHELLES’ GET SECURITY BOOST WITH ARRIVAL OF BRAND NEW DORNIER 228
The Seychelles Air Force has taken delivery of a brand new Dornier 228 surveillance aircraft, which was donated to the country by India at the height of the fight against ocean terrorism, spread by Somalia’s religious extremists.
The aircraft, equipped with the latest monitoring equipment, and armed to respond to threats from the air, arrived yesterday at Mahe’s international airport.
Besides, what is expected to be regular surveillance flights over the Indian Ocean, where the Seychelles can now exercise monitoring of shipping, fishing and gather ecological and meteorological data, the aircraft has added capabilities like troop and cargo transport to the outer islands, where short airstrips require a STOL aircraft like the Dornier.
A similar aircraft, as reported in the past here, has been operating from Mahe since 2011, when the Indian government made one available to boost anti piracy operations, allowing Seychellois air force personnel to get acquainted with the aircraft type and its operating parameters. Maintenance technicians and on board personnel have already been trained though more are yet to undergo similar courses in India to attain the type rating required to serve on board of the new Dornier.
The arrival of the new aircraft has been praised by a regular tourism source, who said: ‘Tourism in Seychelles also involves cruise ships calling on Victoria harbour. It involves leisure yachts and crafts to sail to the Seychelles and stop over before sailing on. It involved deep sea fishing which is a small but important element of what we offer to tourists and only recently did a boat land a record catch again. Being able to operate our own aerial surveillance increased our security in our waters and enhances ocean based tourism activities. But when we look beyond tourism, our fishing sector will also benefit because we will be able to shadow our fleet from the skies and prevent any criminals from approaching them from the sea. These eyes in the skies will be very valuable to us’.
Seychelles has been at the sharp end of operations against the ocean terrorists, taken dozens into custody and jailed them after trials, but have also set the naval coalition on the road of active engagement with the pirates following several successful rescue missions on sea when captured boats and ships were freed by the determined naval forces of the Seychelles. Positioning armed guards on cruise liners and other ships crossing Seychelles’ territorial waters was also an innovation pioneered by the Seychelles, prompting a very significant fall in incidents.
Happy landings to the new aircraft, now flying the Seychelles flag across the Indian Ocean.