One week at Coast Guard
Hi guys its Frances again.For my second week of my Internship I was placed at the Seychelles Coast guard located at Ile Perseverance. My experience over at the Seychelles Coast guard was a really interesting one. I started on Monday where I met Daryl another intern from SYAH. We were introduced to Lieutenant Payet who was going to be responsible for us during that week. Everyone wore fancy and cool uniform they had blue ones and the solider uniforms we see in the movies. The people over there were really strict. Everyone acted in very responsible and professional manner. There were so many other lieutenants and Captains we met eventually. On the first day we visited the Coast guard boats. From the really small ones to bigger ones. It was really interesting as Daryl and I got the chance to ask questions about the boats, the different parts of it. We got to visit the cabins, the machine room which was super hot! The technician explained to us in details how those machines worked and what happens to the boat if something stops working.
On the second day we went for a short patrol with two soldiers. We went to the old port and checked for any abnormalities at site. Though the trip was short I really enjoyed it. On Thursday I even got to navigate the small boat when coming back from North East point conducting a patrol. The soldiers gave me instructions where to go and which buoy to focus on. That was probably the best part of my week placement at Coast Guard. I really enjoyed it.
Furthermore, Daryl and I got the chance to visit what they call the “heart’” of coastguard.
It’s a big office called the MOC which stands for Maritime Operation Centre. Over there we learnt so many cool stuff that they have to deal with. It is in this room that all the radio calls from anyone in trouble calls to get help. They also had many computers with different programs to locate where certain boats where. Or if ever there was an unknown vessel passing through our border they would be able to spot that vessel and take further action to find out what the boat is doing in our border.
This program was very essential during the time of piracy, the workers were able to detect any incoming boats coming into our border and later try getting help from international forces. This program is called VMS standing for Vessel Monitoring System. I think this program is a very good initiative to use especially for local boat owners. Unfortunately there is not yet a law enforced to make it a must that all boats should have VMS every time they go out to sea. It would be way easier for the Coast Guard to spot anyone in distress if those boats did have VMS. It is also safer for those boats owners if ever they were in trouble. Over at MOC we got to answer calls from radio and learnt a few codes they use. I found those codes super cool; it was as if I was in a movie. “Sierra, Zulu, Lima, Seven, Copy, copy”.
Another job the Coast guards do is they investigate and do searches on boats at sea if they suspect any illegal activities. If ever they do find things like drugs or turtle meat or anything illegal they take to our local police, NDEA and SFA for any further investigation. If ever there is anyone in distress or lost at sea, they can also get the help of the Seychelles Air Force so they could get an aerial view of how bad the situation is or in search of a lost boat.
I also noticed that everyone had different numbers and colours of bars on their shoulders. I found out that to get those bars the soldiers should have to act in very responsible manners and go for trainings appointed to them.
In general everyone was super friendly and I made new friends. I learnt a lot about the importance of having the Seychelles Coast guards and what exactly they do. I even learnt how to tie ropes something I’ve always wanted to learn.