“How is the Seychelles Air Force and the Seychelles Coast Guard related to the Blue Economy?” A question that I’ve been asked several times by my family, friends and even by Cpt. R Zarine on our last day at the Seychelles Air Force last Friday on the 15/12/17 during our debrief.
In order to be able to answer this question, I believe that I must first start by asking myself…
What is the Blue Economy?
An extract from a page of the ‘Seychelles’ Blue Economy Roadmap’ document would tell you that “There is no universally accepted definition for the #BlueEconomy, for Seychelles the notion of the Blue Economy refers to those economic activities that directly or indirectly takes place in the ocean and coastal areas, use outputs from the ocean, and places ‘goods and services’ into ocean’s activities and the contribution of those activities to economic growth, social, cultural and environmental well-being.” Or In simplest term it is; the sustainable use of the ocean for present and future generations.
How does the SAF and the SCG fit into the Blue Economy Concept?
It’s been almost 40 years ago ever since the formation of these two major units of the SPDF. Back when the Seychelles hadn’t yet started implementing and stressing on the Blue Economy concept, the Air Force and the Seychelles Coast Guard (formerly called the ‘Air Wing’ and the ‘Naval Wing respectively) still played a vital role in terms of Maritime Security. How so?
The Air Force is like the eagle’s eye and the defender of our ocean from the sky while the Coast Guard operates on the sea. Together these two units work hand in hand in close collaboration to execute various activities such as Anti-Piracy Operations, Anti-Narcotics and Search & Rescue Operations, Fisheries Protection Patrols, Environmental Patrols and so on that protect our EEZ and its natural resources. They both carry out joint operations with other local partners such as the SFA, NDEA, and IDC etc. to the helps in keeping our vast but pristine ocean secure.
Throughout the two weeks I got the chance to learn so much about the Air Force and the Coast Guard such as learning about the pre and post flight procedures and documents, the sky and sea patrol operations, the ‘behind the scene’ activities done before a flight just to name a few.
Going aboard and visiting the various military vessels such as Etoile, Topaz, Constant etc., going on a patrol in the Dornier SY-010 (one of SAF’s aircraft) and going on patrols in a vessel named 211 which is one of the SCG’s Fast Response vessels and getting the chance to steer it were definetly the highlights of my two weeks internship.
Interesting Fact: Military system uses primarily phonetic alphabet/code word from Alpha, Bravo, Charlie, Delta and so on to Zulu for effective radio communications, military time zones identification amongst other things.
It was truly a privilege to meet and interact with those hard-working men and women at the SAF and the SCG. I think that we all have to thank them for their bravery and dedication as protecting and serving our country is an extraordinarily important but high-risk and stressful profession.
I want to express my sincere gratitude and a heartfelt thank you to both organisations and our mentors for making our internship an interesting and memorable one. And an even bigger thanks goes to SYAH and all the hard working facilitators working behind the scene to ensure that the second edition of the #BEinternship becomes a ragging success.
That’s all from me guys. Have a very Merry Christmas and happy prosperous New Year.
Charlie Lima, over and out!
By: Camilla Labonte