In a bid to improve safety at sea, the Cabinet of Ministers has approved a new policy that includes mandatory basic training to seafarers who own, work on or operate any type of watercraft in Seychelles' waters.
The director general of the Seychelles Maritime Safety Administration (SMSA), Captain Joachim Valmont, told SNA on Friday that the basic training is a necessity for seafarers as it will improve safety at sea.
"The training will not only be a plus for seafarers but will be a benefit for those in distress at sea," added Valmont.
The policy which was approved by the Cabinet in its meeting last Wednesday will come into effect in January 2019.
The deputy cabinet secretary for policy affairs, Margaret Pillay, said that training requirements are important for seafarers since Seychelles is surrounded by vast waters and watercraft are often used as the main mode of travelling.
The 115 islands of Seychelles in the western Indian Ocean have a total land area of 455 square kilometres spread over an Exclusive Economic Zone of 1.37 million square kilometres. Aside from using watercraft for travelling from island to island, water-based activities including water sports are also quite popular.
"Watercraft like jet skis can become serious threats to human life and it is imperative that those using it get appropriate training on how to use it responsibly," said Pillay.
Valmont said the aim to certify and give proper training to seafarers in Seychelles is also in line with the standards of the International Maritime Organisation (IMO).
The Seychelles Maritime Safety Administration (SMSA) is also going through the process of becoming an autonomous authority.
"SMSA would also like to be the authority that deals with hire crafts which are currently being administrated by the Seychelles Licensing Authority. We want to go even further to run surveys on fishing boats to test their seaworthiness," added Valmont.
SMSA will also be introducing an exam to assess the ability and knowledge of jet skis and other motorised water vessels on how to manoeuvre this equipment.
The policy will also include creating a database of the number and type of boats operating in the Seychelles' waters.