Government will invest Rs 47 billion for the development of the blue economy and the transformation of the Port Louis Harbour into a regional maritime hub, highlighted the Prime Minister, Minister of Home Affairs, External Communications and National Development Unit, Minister of Finance and Economic Development, Mr Pravind Kumar Jugnauth. He was speaking today at the unveiling ceremony of the commemorative plaque to mark the 400th vessel, Alakrana, of the Chantier Naval de L'Océan Indien (CNOI) in its dry dock, at the Freeport, Zone 11 in Port Louis.
The Director-General of the CNOI and Chief Operations Officer of IBL Marine, Mr Jean-Yves Ruellou, and other eminent personalities were present on the occasion.
In his address, Prime Minister Jugnauth highlighted that Mauritius endowed with an Exclusive Economic Zone of around 2.3 million km2 and a continental shelf of 396,000 km2, has great potential to explore its marine resources and make of the ocean economy an important industry for sustained economic diversification. He elaborated on the main sectors with growth prospective which are fisheries; bunkering; marine tourism; transshipment; and petroleum.
On this score, he underlined the importance of Government's Vision 2030 while adding that it is committed through various projects in line to position Mauritius as a full-fledged maritime hub. These projects are: an Island Container Terminal; a cruise terminal; a fishing port; and a petroleum hub. He further added that the cruise segment registered around 30 cruise vessel calls last year, which indicates the prominence of this sector in the country.
With regard to the CNOI, the Prime Minister emphasised that the company is the only shipyard engaged in ship-building and ship-repairs in the Indian Ocean, operating within international norms.
At its launch in 2001, he said, there were 90% expatriate workers and now the company has around 95% Mauritian employers which according to him demonstrates the proper transfer of knowledge which has taken place and the empowerment of more Mauritian labour. On this score, he called on private and public bodies to adapt to new changes in an era of industrial revolution so as to bring the country to greater heights.
For his part, Mr Jean-Yves Ruellou, spoke of the history of the company, with only 25 workers when it started operating to currently employing more than 400 people. He added that the CNOI Shipyard with a 130m long dry-dock, a synchro-lift for vessels up to 1400 tons and more than 350m long quay, has constructed over 30 vessels, including three for Mauritius.
A model of the vessel Le Polé was offered to the Prime Minister on this occasion. Le Polé is one of the biggest vessel constructed in Mauritius which can accommodate 600 passengers and 35 vehicles.