The UK Hydrographic Office (UKHO) has forged alliance with the Seychelles Government to help tackle piracy in the Indian Ocean.

Piracy threatens the security of sea trade routes and is said to cost the international economy approximately $7bn to $12bn per year.

Both the Seychelles and its neighbours face the threat of piracy as some of the world’s busiest trade routes pass through their waters.

Under the alliance, the UKHO conducted Navigation, Stabilisation Advice and Training (SONSAT) activities in the Seychelles.

The SONSAT programme was intended to raise government officials’ awareness of existing infrastructure and other services such as the World-Wide Navigational Warning Service (WWNWS) and Rescue Coordination Centres (RCCs).

UKHO experts offered advice and guidance on how to better coordinate operations between these services within the legal framework.

UKHO SONSAT Capability development manager Paul Merchant said: “As an island state that is hugely reliant on a buoyant tourism industry, the threat of piracy and illegal and unregulated fishing in the Indian Ocean is of huge concern to the Seychelles and its neighbours.

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“The training that the UKHO’s SONSAT capability delivers is specifically tailored to the needs of the state or region.”

“From a UK perspective, we also have a huge amount of trade that passes through these waters.

“The training that the UKHO’s SONSAT capability delivers is specifically tailored to the needs of the state or region, depending on their existing knowledge and capabilities. In addition to our work in the Seychelles, we have supported the FCO with its Commonwealth Marine Economies Programme, providing advice and guidance on maritime safety and security to Cyprus, Gibraltar, St Helena, Tristan da Cunha and Ascension Islands.”

The UK Government’s Conflict Stability and Security Fund (CSSF) funded this training and it was carried out on behalf of the Foreign Commonwealth Office.

The programme is part of the UK Government’s effort to support the newly established Regional Centre for Operation Coordination (RCOC) in Victoria, the capital of the Seychelles.