Security officers at the Seychelles main port – Port Victoria – will be increasing safety measures as part of efforts by the Seychelles Ports Authority (SPA) to meet international standards and requirements of the United States Coast Guard.
Security specialists of the US Naval Criminal Investigative Service (NCIS) are in the island nation this week to train and build the capacity of security officers working in the Port Victoria.
The new measures will include more searches and detailed spot checks of all personnel, vehicles, and cargo.
Physical security specialist Larron White from NCIS Security Training Assessment Assistance Team (STAAT) said “the security measures and procedures in place are far higher than most ports I’ve assessed. I have assessed over a hundred ports and the security measures that are in place in Seychelles have surpassed my expectations.”
However White said the port has to remain consistent. “This port is like other ports: in the evening there are fewer people and security tends to slack. There is a need to drive consistency during day time and at night.”
This training led by a team of five from NCIS involves around 40 security officers from the ports authority, as well as key partners: the Seychelles Coast Guard, the Anti-Narcotics Bureau, the Maritime and Rescue Coordination Centre and the Seychelles Maritime Safety Administration.
The training included 40 security officers from the Ports Authority and key partners. (Thomas Meriton) Photo License: CC-BY
Lucianna Andre and Andy Pierre are two security officers who attended the session. ‘What we have been taught, we already knew but now, we have been equipped with more knowledge so that we can be more efficient,’ explained Andre.
“We will now be more careful with our spot checks and searches. Inspections will take longer. For instance, drivers will now need to step out whilst we conduct thorough checks to ensure the vehicle is safe to enter the port,” added Pierre.
The training team will also be providing the port authority with recommendations on issues such as fixing the infrastructure as far as perimetres and the installation of circuit cameras.
The four-day session is in line with the U.S. government’s continued effort to advise and assist SPA with its port security program.
In April this year, a report by the United States Coast Guard found that Seychelles – 115 islands in the western of Indian Ocean – is not maintaining effective anti-terrorism measures at its port.
The deficiencies identified have been included in the International Port Security report, prepared by The US Coast Guard as part of the International Port Security Programme.
A communique from the US Embassy in Port Louis, Mauritius said “the U.S. Government’s placement of the Seychelles Port Authority on the PSA by no means indicates SPA is not secure and is unsafe. In fact, since the USCG inspection team identified anti-terrorism deficiencies, SPA has implemented port security measures based upon recommendations by the United States Coast Guard International Port security System (USCG ISPS). We are confident that SPA will eventually be removed from the PSA. U.S. Navy ships will continue to call on Seychelles port – which highlights the U.S. Navy’s comfort level with port security.”
Source: Seychelles News Agency