SEPEC has followed the example
The Seychelles authorities and boat owners have recently decided to protect fishing industry by deploying armed personnel on board as means of combating piracy. This decision has been proved to be wise, as no successfull pirates attack has been reported so far. The Seychelles Petroleum Company (SEPEC) owner of a six-strong tanker fleet which now transports fuel around the world and which is also involved in high sea bunkering operations which consists of fuelling ships on some main maritime routes, has decided to follow the example.
Commenting on the security measures, Sepec’s chief executive Conrad Benoiton said: “The potential of being attacked is very high, especially when bunkering other vessels. Sepec has invested hugely in those tankers so we cannot simply let them go, as long as the legal framework and procedures under the international maritime laws are respected. Piracy is not a light matter, this is why our crew have been inducted and trained to protect our assets, save lives and also well document the post activity factor in view of eventual legal proceedings. Although we cannot altogether eradicate piracy, we have put together a system which will protect us.”
Sepec now seems ready to militarily protect its tankers from eventual pirate attacks as shown last month by a fake pirate attack and defence demonstration on board one of the tankers – the Seychelles Paradise. The was ‘attacked’ by pirates armed with automatic weapons and rocket propelled grenades (RPG) on board a speed boat, and the crew and four armed men on board ‘responded’ and foiled the attempt to board and take over the ship.
Image Credit: The Seychelles Nation
The demonstration showed operating procedures as part of a security plan applied upon the detection of a suspected vessel which goes from sending a distress call to attacking the enemy ship. In case of casualties, the security team is also trained to provide medical assistance and evacuate wounded colleagues. They are also taught how to respond to military rescue.