Hey everyone, it’s Talia again! During this first week at Seychelles Safety Maritime Administration (SMSA), I had the chance to discover many information concerning Seychelles’ economy and its major role into the Blue economy worldwide. Thanks to SMSA, I had the possibility to visit a large amount of ships, and therefore materialize easily the two main revenues of Seychelles: tourism and fishing. I understood much more how the Seychelles’ economy needs its precious marine resources.
To begin, I had the opportunity to visit the port (SPA) from the top to the bottom. I never knew it was that big! The port is divided in 2 major parts: the commercial port and the fishing port. It is soon planning to extend up to 600 meters length, which is twice its actual size. Firstly, we visited the port’s control tower. I never knew how big its role is! They oversee basically everything happening in the port; for example: vessels parking, boards, inboards, radio signals, emergency messages, etc…
Soon after, we went to the Zone 14 of the port. This special area called Ile du Port Handling Services (IPHS) is a new private quay named Build Operate Transfer (BOT), its aim is the creation of a special fishing market that will be in approximately 25 years, transferred to the Seychelles’ government.
Then, I had the chance to visit a fishing vessel, considered as small in the maritime language. Luckily, we arrived just in time to see the offloading of tons of tuna. Frozen fish are offloaded from the hold manually onto a fish loader that leads directly in refrigerated containers, ready for exportation, or sent to Indian Ocean Tuna (IOT) to be transformed and caned. The arrival of fish loaders in Seychelles has revolutionized the exportation of fish because of its speed, compared to a manual work. In fact, these heavy machines are extremely useful to ensure a maximum of exportation. In the old days, it took a day to fill in only one container, compared to 3 mechanically today.
On the commercial port, I visited the Costa Neo Riviera. What a massive cruise ship! This huge vessel carries up to 1300 passenger and 550 employees. Cruise ships are coming approximately 33 times a year, we tend to forget that it corresponds to around 10% of tourists coming to Seychelles annually. Tourism is the main income of the country representing approximately 60% of its Gross Domestic Product (GDP).
Moreover, I visited the only tanker boat navigating under the Seychelles’ flag: Seychelles Paradise. This tanker does the trip between Mahé and Praslin, in other to keep Praslin economically dynamic. Tankers bring diesel, gas and fuel to Seychelles according to the local needs. As sustainable energies and vehicles are only at their beginnings, hydrocarbons are essential to ensure transport all over Seychelles but also to generate electricity, thanks to PUC.
Finally, we visited the CMA CGM container ship called “La Tour”. As Seychelles don’t produce a lot of goods, both material and eatable, importation is essential. What makes the success of containers is its size. In fact, only two sizes exist: the 20fts and the 40fts. Therefore, the universalization of containers size makes the International trade much easier. More than 38 000 containers are imported annually in Seychelles to satisfy the needs and close to 29 000 containers are exported. This exportation represents 40% of the country’s GDP and is essentially composed of tuna, canned or frozen.
To conclude, these first days at SMSA made me realize how much Seychelles incomes rely mainly on the Blue Economy to stay in the international competition. The main question today is: “How to keep Seychelles attractive for tourism and for fishing investments?”. Well our country needs its EEZ and its resources, for both fishing industry and tourism. A balance needs to be obtained to keep Seychelles a dream destination and in the meantime, the fishing resources also need to be closely watched to keep it as one of the best in terms of quantity and quality internationally.