Many of you may not have heard of the Seychelles Maritime Safety Administration (SMSA) or where it is even located. This is a small organization that forms part of the Ministry of Tourism, Civil Aviation, Ports and Marine, located at the New Port of Victoria. SMSA came into existence in October 2004 and prior to that, it formed part of the Port and Marine Services Division, which is now no longer in operation. The SMSA is divided into three main sections, the Legal, Survey & Inspection and the Registry section. They all serve to implement and enforce international and local regulations for all ships which operate in the exclusive economic zone (EEZ) of the Seychelles. By the way I am Ryan Dewea a young aspiring lawyer taking part in the blue economy internship.
My first day started out by hunting down the SMSA office. I was greeted by a cheerful Captain Valmont who is the Director General (DG) of the organization. His welcome put me at ease as right then there I knew that I was going to enjoy my two weeks here. After that I was taken to meet all the workers. First, I met Brigitte Ciseau the person in charge of running the legal department and oversee all the legal matters. Then came in Richard Ernesta who is the Director of SMSA, he seemed like a serious and hardworking man which fits well with his position as being in the administration requires a lot of dedication and patience.
After that Brigitte took me and Nathanielle Soomery (intern buddy) to meet the other employees. We met Ms. Ruth Port-Louis who has been in the organization for over 20 years now, her devotion and love to her work is clearly expressed to the way she performs her tasks. Ruth is in charge of the registration of ships and seafarers. I was intrigued by her work as it was all so new to me. Gladly she showed me how new vessels are registered and issued with their registration certificate which takes approximately three months once the new owners have sorted the formalities.
Lastly, I met Mr. Francois Charles, Terry De Charmoy Lablache and Anissa Vengadasamy they are posted in the survey and inspection section of the organization. Francois is the most senior surveyor/inspector in the department followed by Terry who is the clown of SMSA. They all carry out survey and inspection on different vessels in different locations on the island. Anissa is the jack of all trade as described by the Captain, she is like the soul of the SMSA as she does practically everything around, for instance she replaces the Director whenever he’s not around. The highlight of my fist week was when Terry took both Nathanielle and I out for surveying, we got the chance to visit the Bel Ombre jetty and the Eden Island Marina and quite a few more places. We learned the different requirements for a vessel to be deemed seaworthy so that they can be issued with their safety certificate.