Greetings, tis Anna for (perhaps) the last time! Those who followed my journey would know that my two weeks at SEYPEC has ended. Not to be cliché, but it was truly an educational and inspiring experience. “Educational” because I learnt so much, for example how to deal with an oil spill, as well as see business concepts from the syllabus applied in real life, like motivation theories. “Inspiring” because Seypec is an exemplary company that puts emphasis on maximizing the potential of the people as well as having international standards though it is owned by a small country; it has taught me to widen my mindset and think in global terms.'
For my last day, I got a meeting with the CEO, Mr. Conrad Benoiton, a busy man. We talked about the future plans for Seypec next year, which includes the Airport Depot being moved due to expansion of the airport, implementation of new software like the IFS that increases Seypec’s productivity and efficiency, reduce tanker loans, and most importantly, “people investment.” This refers to more training, which would ultimately increase the efficiency, productivity and standards of the company. We also discussed the blue economy in terms its opportunities and its challenges ahead. He believes there is no justification on why it cannot be achieved. However, he believes it should be led by the private sector and assisted by the government to ensure long term success in an efficient manner. In terms of challenges for the blue economy, he believes the scarcity of human resources is a big one, for example, the fishing industry in Seychelles is mainly comprised of foreigners – the industrial fishing vessels are mostly French and the Spanish. Another obstacle would be ensuring our resources are not exhausted, he suggests that regulations for things like fish stocks, needs to be backed up by a harsh yet fair penalty. He also suggested using drone surveillance to protect our EEZ as it is less expensive in the long term, and easier to coordinate than having the coastguard and air force working in tandem (which I believe is an excellent idea). Moving on to the topic of youth, he advised the new generation to always look past the horizon, pay attention to international dynamics and aim to push Seychelles further on the international spotlight. Moreover, he emphasized to always aim to turn “$1 to $1.25.”
On a last note, I would like to give a big THANK YOU to the every Seypec employee I have met, who always greeted me with a smile on their faces, and answered every one of my questions without any hint of annoyance. In fact they encouraged me to ask my questions even after the internship, which I definitely will. I would also like to thank the amazing Luisa Waye-Hive, who acted as my chaperone for these two weeks and managed to create a program which gave me a complete picture of the company and amazingly managed to fit in some of my extra requests like meeting the CEO of SPA. Also a big thank you to the HR Department (where I spent my time when I was not running around) for tolerating me and my “hyperness.”
Hello, Anna again! The title is a question posed by my sister when she first heard about the term “blue economy.” It is a term that not only confuses children but also adults. There is no best definition, but to my understanding it is the usage of the ocean and coastal areas to create economic growth, which would create improved social equity and living standards, whilst reducing environmental risks and ecological scarcities. Courtesy of an enlightening presentation from Rebecca Lousteau-Lalanne, Principal Secretary of the Blue Economy Department on the very subject, I’ve learnt that its wide scope covers tourism, marine conservation, shipping, oil/mineral extraction, marine renewable energy, fishing and aquaculture, coastal development, port development, maritime security and education.
Why should Seychelles adopt such an initiative and how does it benefit the people? Seychelles is an island country, and the ocean makes up most of our territory, it makes sense to make use of the ocean when its right near our door step. With the industry, Seychelles’ output would increase due to activities like aquaculture, exportation of crude oil if oil exploration is successful. Increased output would result in reduced national debt, more employment, appreciation of the Seychelles rupee, higher standards of living with lower living costs. Most importantly, this growth does not compromise the health of the marine ecosystem as well as the ecosystem in coastal areas.
How is SEYPEC part of the Blue Economy industry? Simple, SEYPEC deals with the transportation of fuel and fuel-related products through their six tankers that go to every continent in the world. As mentioned before shipping is part of the blue economy: it uses the ocean, it does contribute to the economy (SEYPEC’s re-exportation of their products contributed about 10% of the nominal GDP in 2015), and they do the maximum to reduce their impact on the environment (as required for them to obtain the international standard ISO 14001 – Environmental Management Systems (EMS)). Most importantly, SEYPEC’s domestic distribution of fuel is vital for fishing vessels, IOT factory, cruise ships and aircrafts that bring in tourists, air force and coastguard boats for maritime security, so it supports most of the blue economy industry. SEYPEC also recently “adopted” Seychelles Maritime Academy (SMA) to improve the academic program, and it itself provides training for its staff including seafarers.
During my time at SEYPEC, I met with various people who understand the blue economy better than I do and recognize the potential. The head of the Praslin Depot, Mr Marcus Pierre who also worked with SIF previously, told me that the aquaculture section is especially important given that fish stocks in the inner island regions have gone down as well as having a first-hand experience of seeing the benefits of it in India. The crew of Paradise, also whole-heartedly agree that the blue economy is beneficial, one hopes to see one day, Seychellois industrial fishing vessels dominating our seas instead of foreign vessels. Lecturers of SMA has also emphasized that the sea is “money right next to our door” and they hope the Seychellois youth would seize the opportunity to take on careers in the blue economy field. The general consensus is that the Blue Economy is a good initiative; they hope that it will be properly managed for long term benefits, but many expect some bumps in the road due to its “newness”.
Greetings and salutations, Anna again. Thursday was a busy day for me, not only did I visit the tank farm, I was also lucky to visit the Airport Depot and observe the refueling of airplanes as well as the bunkering of vessels, two activities that contribute a lot of revenue to SEYPEC.
7 sharp, I was at the airport entrance, with the view of the three tanks of the Airport Depot. They contain Jet A1 at the capacity of 4637 CBM. Mr. Basil Scholastique, Airport Deport Manager, brought us; armed with safety helmets and earplugs to view the refueling of Emirates Boeing 777 200LA on a specialised truck, which has an elevated deck that allows the pipe and the operative to reach the plane’s wing where the fuel storage tank is. The truck actually filters Jet A1 before it reaches the airplane fuel tank, as well as takes a sample of the product while it is being uplifted for the visual check, which ensures that Jet A1 is bright and clear from solid contaminants, and a water check to ensure that it is free of water. Water’s presence in Jet A1 is very dangerous as water would freeze in high altitude and could potentially block the pipes and engine. Product from the vehicle’s slop tank goes through a standard quality check and is transferred to the recovery where it is filtered and then transferred back into the storage tanks. The truck also has a meter to monitor the supplies given, so it is similar to a moving service station. Equipped with two fire extinguishers, a yellow wire for earthing (to prevent the creation of static from the high flow rate of about 2600l per minute which can cause sparks) and lanyards to ensure minimum incidents could be caused.
Passing underneath the plane (which was pretty cool), we were off to get a tour of the Airport Depot. First sight that piqued my interest was the multitude of silver pipes labeled receipt and service that were inter-connected. Mr. Scholastique explained this was another set of filters, and that the product is filtered four times in total – flowing from Victoria to the Airport Depot, entering and exiting the storage tanks as well as from the trucks to the airplane fuel tank. Passing by the slop tanks (fuel that has been contaminated with water) we head on to the workshop where mechanics checkup on the trucks. Don’t worry; the slop as I have been told is sent back to Victoria terminal where it is re-used by downgrading it to another fuel grade (i.e. fuel oil). The last site we visited was the source of the 8km pipeline from Victoria to the Airport, and when asked about the maintenance of the pipeline, I’ve learnt that rust is prevented by cathodic protection. Overall, a great insight to the functions of the airport depot as a science geek it’s refreshing to hear scientific concepts applied in real life.
In the afternoon, I went to go view bunkering, the process of transferring fuel into vessels, which was done obviously on the port. The process is quite simple, the operatives connect one end of the pipe to a bunkering point then connect the other end to the fuel tank onboard the vessel, which you can see on the pics below.
Hello, it’s Anna again. On Thursday, I got a tour of the tank farm alongside the SMSA intern, Nathanielle and Ryan, conducted by Mr. Jaimie Formert, Tank Farm Manager. What is a tank farm, you ask? It is the storage site for all the fuel and fuel-related products SEYPEC purchases, some tanks are also rented out to SEYPEC’s current supplier. So we marched, clad in clunky safety shoes and safety helmets, amongst the towering tanks (ranging from 20m to 25m high). The farm is separated into two sections, North and South, the North tank farm consists of the oldest tanks (some even dating from 1972) whilst the South tank farm contains the newest (some even built by Vijay). The black ones pictured contains fuel oil, and it is painted black to absorb light from the sun and help to keep the temperature of the product at a higher level than the observed temperature (i.e. normal temperature).Whilst the green tanks are an assortment of other products types supplied by SEYPEC like MOGAS, Jet A1, Gasoline, kerosene.
Mr. Formert pointed out the various safety measures throughout the tank farm. You will notice in the pictures below of the red and yellow pipes, they respectively hold freshwater and foam. The current foam SEYPEC uses is FireAide which is more environmentally-friendly and more effective than the previous foam used, as stated by Mr. Maringo, health, safety & environment officer. The fresh water pumps and foam pump are always on; back-up supplies are also near the high-risk areas. The sprinklers are on top of the tanks to stifle any possible flames as well as connected through piston-life structures meant to deal with external flames. SEYPEC even has its own fire truck and its proximity to the fire brigade on Praslin and in Victoria ensures that fire-related incidents will be quickly dealt with. You will also notice a wall that surrounds the tanks; these are bund walls, meant to contain any leakage of fuel from the tanks.
We also visited the LPG tanks (12 in total) with a capacity of 2,200 MT. As well as viewing the filling process of the canisters; the large ones e.g. 24kg and the small ones e.g. 5 kg are separated. First the canisters are passed through a machine where they are cleaned (sort of like a car wash) with cold water mixed with a chemical. The next station is the filling station where the LPG is filled into the canisters to the adequate amount, and off it passes to the sealing station where leaks are checked and then sealed by heating a plastic seal by 150 degrees Celsius.
After the tour, my respect grew exponentially for SEYPEC due to their emphasis on safety procedures as well as limiting their effects to the environment. I also grew a large respect for the operatives as I believe they have the most physically demanding jobs, working in any weather conditions for the daily checks like dipping (checking volume of product in the tanks) as well as heavy lifting the LPG canisters, which is why I urge readers to buy the new lighter LPG canisters to make their lives easier.
Did you know?
- SEYPEC’s tank farm is the largest in the Indian Ocean
- Tank 28 is has the largest capacity, it can hold forty five million liters (45,000,000) of fuel
- Tanks from SHELL company which are 44 years old, are still used
- There are in total 28 tanks and 12 LPG bullet tanks
- Bund walls can hold the same volume of fuel as the tanks
When I first heard that I was going to be interning with SEYPEC, I was a bit skeptical due to my misunderstanding of the company. For example, I (stupidly) believed that SEYPEC was also involved with oil exploration (was actually PetroSeychelles which was merged with SEYPEC until 2013), as a student leaning towards business and humanities subjects I thought I was unqualified for the job. Thankfully, during my two weeks of internship with the company I have a better understanding of the business and my past misconceptions have disappeared, and I hope that this blog will help readers understand SEYPEC better.
- SEYPEC implements high prices on oil for higher profits
Let me explain their pricing process for their products like diesel and motor gasoline to the domestic market. When the product is received by SEYPEC, its price is in US dollars and then converted to Seychelles Rupees, which can push the price up depending on the exchange rate (this is why SEYPEC changes prices weekly to give the client the most honest price). The price is the average market price at the time (recorded by PLATTS) with cost, insurance and freight (CIF) added to it. SEYPEC then adds the 8.08 rupee tax required by the government (at the time of writing) and a 2.75 rupee for its profit margin. So, as you can see the profit margin is relatively small (about 16% of the total price for SEYPEC by October 2016 whilst tax was 48%).
- SEYPEC is government-owned thus benefits from subsidies
Yes it is a parastatal, but it does not benefit from subsidies. Rather SEYPEC subsidizes many companies as well as pay dividends to government, for example:
It does contribute about 10% to the national GDP so you could say it does earn a lot of money. However, its approximate net profit margin (2015) is 1.72%. Why such a low margin? Well…product costs and taxes make up 84% of the revenue, plus there are training costs (about R5.2million in 2015), loans (currently 87% of their tanker loans have been completed, they aim to increase that percentage next year), insurance costs (more than R20million), maintenance costs, salaries and subsidies; leaving a tiny percentage as profit.
Written by Anna Yang.
Hi all! Camilla here *wavy hand emoji*. The second (and final :)) week of the #BEinternship was simply the bomb! I got the chance to head out on the field and spend a day at the FIQCU, a division of SBS (Seychelles Bureau of Standards) which abbreviates to Fish Inspection and Quality Control Unit situated in Victoria.
One of the things that they do is executing visits in numerous areas and organisation for Inspection/ audit. Places such as Fishing and transport vessels e.g. containers, food processing industries, cold stores and so on. Basically places that’s mainly linked to fish and fishery products in any sort of way. The reasons why these routine inspection is of great necessity is to ensure that everything is up to standard and that they are following the HACCP (Hazard Analysis & Critical Control Point) principles and legal requirement towards food safety.
Some of fish inspector’s main duties are to examine the basic housekeeping and hygiene/sanitation practices but also identify the different chemical, physical and microbiological hazards that may in any of way affect the products. And that’s exactly what we did when Carl, Aaron (2 fish inspectors) and I went to the IOT (Indian Ocean Tuna) factory for an inspection/audit especially before exporting overseas.
It was nice to see another fellow #BEintern (Raina Nicette) from the IOT lab division, as this was a clear indication of how both Blue Economy organisations (SBS and IOT) interlinks and interacts on a regular basis. After completing a GMP & and health questionnaires and gearing up in hair nets, boots, overall, ear plugs and high visibility florescence jackets we were ready for the grueling walks throughout the different areas inside the massive factory.
A common misconception from the Seychellois occurs usually, from moment you mention IOT the first two things that pops into their mind is “fish cleaning” and “putrid smell”. But its waaaaaay more than that! From the incoming fishes on the vessels and the sorting areas on the docks all the way to the cold store (with temperature all the way to below -30 ̊c) to seaming, sterilisation and label and case there were so many ongoing processes that I could barely keep track of them all. Some tasks that where undertaken throughout this inspecting/audit included: witnessing the ‘Metal detection verification tests’ , review of records, identification of different hazards (micro biological, physical and chemical, interviewing some workers, making some recommendations/ suggestions … just to state a few.
Mr. Aaron Mariannne, A fish Inspector from the FIQCU agreed to answer a few questions on camera for this blog. So just click on the video below to watch the interview and I hope that you’ll enjoy it!
It was heart breaking walking into the office that morning knowing it would be my last time. I already felt like a part of SEC and had done so much in just two weeks. I had been dreading Friday, the end of my internship at SEC, but when Mr Tony called me into his office to give me a proper farewell he assured me that it was not the end. To my delight I was invited to come back if I ever wanted to do so and I’m already considering working with the SEC again during my next holidays. We talked about how the internship was and I thanked him for all the trouble he’d gone through making sure I had a memorable experience at the organisation. I am really grateful and especially happy because the work they do is related to what I want to study in the future and only made me even more sure of my decision.
As time passed my internship only got more exciting. I was given the task of developing ideas to help promote energy efficient and conservative practices. I was a bit skeptical at first as I don’t think of myself as the most creative person although I am always up for a challenge. By the end of the day I had come up with some good ideas and I was quite proud of my work. I thankfully received positive remarks.
I took a break from SEC on Thursday to spend the day at PCU with Ms Elaine Ernesta, Resource Efficiency Project Manager. I met a whole new group of people who were equally as friendly as the awesome people at SEC. To start the day off I was given explanation on the function of the PCU, how it operates and it’s relation to the GOS-UNDP-GEF. Ms Elaine also gave me examples of what the organisation is working on. I had the opportunity of observing a ‘kozkilowatt’ interview in town whereby a gentleman was asked about his energy consumption at home and what he does to ensure as little energy consumption as possible. The videos are shared on the Facebook page, Resource Efficiency Seychelles.
And then it was Friday... I couldn’t believe how fast time had gone by. Before I knew it I was packing up my desk and saying goodbye to SEC and the wonderful people I had met. To my surprise I was offered a parting gift and there was also an organised visit to the Power Station. I found the visit fascinating as I had never been there before. There was no better way to end the amazing two weeks. After a group photo with everyone and lots of goodbyes I left SEC with a great deal of new found knowledge, much needed experience and the intention of returning one day.
Written by Nikita Rennie
#BEintern Nikita Rennie interviews Denis Morel from the Seychelles Energy Commission to get further insights on his job.
#BEintern Laura Montano speaks to Michele Martin on her thoughts on the ban of plastic bags.
They can be observed along the dock. Walking around grouped into trios, in dull outfits in an attempt to blend in with the grey worn out cement colour of the ground; carrying and pulling heavy ropes, sporting thick combat look-a-like boots. They’re only seen when vessels border the port for berthing or mooring however, with the aid of their walkie-talkies to facilitate communication they can disperse quite rapidly. No one dares go near them, not even the solid men and women in our security crew (we have about 60 personnel at our Mahe Ports). ***
Day seven, 05:30 was my wakeup call… an eventful day awaited Mariana and I, and we thus had to be at the port by 06:30 – Costa NeoRomantica would be entering the pilot station(near Saint Anne Island) at 07:00 sharp, and our silver-tongued Director Mr. Bianchi got us the golden opportunity to witness first-hand the operations done offshore by one of SPA’s Captains and officials from the NDEA, HEALTH and IMMIGRATION(all to ensure that the people entering our ports pose no threat to Seychellois lives, property and livelihood). All of the above mentioned, including Mariana and I were on board Pilotage Vessel, MERLE. Due to being simply interns, we weren’t given clearance to board the vessel, at least not at the pilot station (stay tuned for an overview of my ‘inoubiable’ moment on board). Back at the port, accompanied by Mr. David we watched in awe as the monstrosity of a floating beauty docked safely. With our talented team of men on the tug boat remaining on standby.
Sooner than later, traditional music, played by the talented band that the port personally seeks and hires, was being echoed off the new metallic wall of the vessel, and on the “SA KART NWEL” part, tourists on board the Costa disembarked. [SA KART NWEL, means “This Christmas Card” it’s a very popular local song, sang and played especially at Christmas time]
What an amazing way to be welcomed into paradise? An array of travel agents aligned and patiently awaiting their day’s clients. And had you been a more adventurous person wanting to explore Mahe Island like a local, walking around or by public vehicles all would be made readily available at your disposal. If by chance a client hadn’t gotten the time to contact a travel agent, upon walking out of the SPA’s gate a group of hungry and competitive small scale business owners were present with their display boards, their accents well-honed and their demeanor calm and inviting… all the tricks and trades of being in competitive market.
*** Back to the gang, yeah sorry kind of tricked you into reading my whole blog before an explanation. Well the thing is, although these men wear dull clothing #Overalls, they always rock neon colored helmets and reflective vests. They’re seen in trios, not to beat up anyone, but to share the tasks of pulling the heavy ropes and hooking them to the bollards. They’re only seen when vessels are berthing or mooring the port because they are needed then, #DrumRoll, Ladies and Gentlemen allow me to present the #MOORING_GANG. P.S I believe whoever came up with the name was a genius… the mooring gang are these responsible people behind the securing of a vessel by ropes to the port.
Hope this one wasn’t too long and I managed to keep you lot awake. Stay tuned for my day on board Costa and my trip on Rose-Mary the lady.
Written by Melissa Jumaye