Many people hear the word “port” and automatically think two things, fish and the smell. I say this because I thought the same, oh but how wrong was I. Why you may ask? Well let’s get to it and I’ll explain why by talking a bit about my three days at work. First of all my name is Mariana Naya and I am a sixteen year old girl who got assigned to the port along with my fellow #BEintern Melissa.
My first day at work started on a Tuesday morning because Monday was dedicated to my exams. I headed straight to catch the early boat because fortunately for us we were going to Praslin and La Digue where I would be learning about the role of SPA there, that is how they manage and control boats entering and leaving the port and plans to develop and enlarge the port for better use. How cool was that for a first day? It was there that I had the privilege to meet Mr Vincent Didon, the business development manager, or as I like to call him “boss”, since I would be under his wing for a while and also Mr Ralph who is the senior research officer. I was greeted with friendly handshakes and wide smiles, but mind you, these smiles only hide the hard worker behind. So far I’ve seen that these people are highly knowledgeable at what they do and are professionals in the different aspects and line of work.
On my second day Mr Vincent showed me around the headquarters and many introductions were made with friendly and more than welcoming devoted workers, it was then that I got a chance to meet Mr Vincent’s director, Mr David Bianchi. Since my time here, Melissa and I were never left with our questions unanswered, and might I say, we ask a lot of questions, young and hungry minds you could say. We were explained properly and educated about anything and everything and they handled every issue and question we threw at them expertly. We got a chance to visit ports on Ile perseverance, I remember Mr Vincent calling it zone 14. I also got a chance to see and touch the wind turbines which got me over excited and the once in a lifetime chance to board the Alakrana fishing vessel which is famous for its capture by the pirates a while back. We were able to see how the boat works inside and out and I got over my fear of heights as I climbed the very steep stairs to the crow’s nest as my colleague called it “on top of the world” indeed.
Once we were back we went up into the highest point of the port, the tower. Meeting the eyes of the boats you could say, the people behind the safe and smooth entering and leaving of these huge vessels, giving the boats directions and other specific details needed to enter our small port. Coming only a few feet away with the huge and luxurious cruise ship Nautica, Melissa and I had to bend our heads upwards to look at it. We also had a chance to see how the band played traditional songs while dancers moved around to the beat capturing the eyes of the enthusiastic tourists, local businesses were ready with kiosks filled with souvenirs and travel agents close by.
The port ensures that these newly arrived people are welcomed in the best ways and feel right at home. Soon after we boarded the Jakarta tower (covered in safety gear), a very heavily loaded cargo boat where we were shown around, having to tiringly climb a flight of stairs we found it was worth it in the end as we had the opportunity to see how they loaded and unloaded containers to and from the port.
Since its opening in 1975 Port Victoria has been busy and ‘on its feet’ ever since. As most of us know Seychelles’ main economic pillars are fisheries and tourism and as I’ve explained already the port receives both. It is equipped with a well-trained line of staff members, supplies of all kind, entertainment and high security. This busy port cannot be judged but its size as it continues to make its mark, even if it wasn’t built for these kind of big boats and heavy loads back in the days. It seems to be working well!
Most people ask what does the port and SPA have to do with the blue economy, I know I asked that also but it’s simple. First of all the port emphasises on activities that take place in the ocean and coastal areas as you read with all the vessels and ships that enter our port. They all add to economic growth when they use the services in our ports. Whether it’s collecting imports or sending out exports, fueling boats, tugging them to harbor, providing supplies or even rescuing boats in distress, our port plays one of the major roles in the blue economy.