Friday, 31 August 2012

Piracy in the Seychelles

In recent years, the question has arisen amongst visitors to the Seychelles, especially those whose intention it was to spend time sailing, as to what the direct risk of piracy is to them. These questions are often answered with a simple “you’ll be fine” from tour operators and travel agents alike. However, this is not enough information, especially for those who are travelling with families. People do not want to willingly and knowlingly put their loved ones at risk, and as such, the concerns over piracy have a had direct impact on the tourism industry in the Seychelles.
To understand the threat of piracy to a holidaymaker, one needs to understand the Seychelles as a geographic location and economic location, as well as how and where the pirates operate. Officially called the Republic of the Seychelles, it comprises of 115 islands, 43 granitic and 72 coralline, scattered over an Exclusive Economic Zone of 1.374 million Km² (EEZ). It lies 5 degrees south of the Equator and as such enjoys a tropical climate, and is hot and humid throughout the year with very little seasonal change.

Below is an illustration of the Seychelles EEZ (in blue, 1.374 million Km²)

Pirates Modus Operandi and Impact on Seychelles

Pirates are usually armed with light weapons for ease of transport, as well as communication and navigation devices. Vessels attacked off Somalia are randomly selected, and are not specifically targeted for any reason other than how easily they can be boarded. Pirates simply patrol an area, wait for a target of opportunity, and attempt to board.

In February 2009, the first Seychelles flagged vessel was hijacked, and was followed by another vessel in April. Ten Seychellois were taken hostage. Within weeks following the two incidents, there was a sudden increase in attacks within the Seychelles EEZ.  In 2009, 10 vessels were hijacked within the EEZ.

The expansion of the pirates was most certainly a concern for the Seychelles government, as it had an immediate impact on the tourism and fishing industries. The 2 sectors represent 65% of the country’s GDP, 36% of its labour force, and generates most of the foreign exchange earnings of the country. In 2009 alone, the tourism industry experienced an 8 million Euro loss that was directly attributed to piracy, while the fishing industry suffered similar losses of 4.1 million Euro. Piracy has mainly disrupted the tuna industry, leading to loss of employment, earnings, and shortage of tuna to the canning factory (tuna exportation has declined by 30%).  Approximately 6500 people (8% of the population) in Seychelles depend directly or indirectly on the fisheries sector for their livelihood. In total four local fishing vessels have been hijacked since 2010, however three were rescued by the military intervention of the Coast Guard.

Pirates in Action

 Seychelles Response to Piracy

Following the first piracy attack in Seychelles, the president established a High Level Committee on Piracy to derive a policy and plan and organise a response to piracy.  In addition, a Comprehensive Maritime Security Plan to combat maritime threats has been drafted and adopted.

A New prison has been built with the support of United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) to cater for pirates, and the Penal Code was amended in 2010 and has incorporated article 101 to 107 of United Nations Convention of the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS). The maximum sentence for the crime of piracy is now 30 years and a fine of SR 1million.  Seychelles have also signed various military agreements with a number of foreign partners such as the US, EU, NAVFOR, UAE, India, France, UK, Spain, and Denmark to get assistance in the fight against piracy.

The Seychelles Coast Guard has also been doing a sterling job. With their limited assets to cover an extensive EEZ of approximately 1.3 million square kilometres, they have intercepted and arrested hundreds of suspected pirates. They also work closely with other international partners, having warships and aircraft operating in the region for a common cause, the fight against piracy.

Seychelles Coast Guard

What is the threat of piracy to Seychelles Yacht Charter?

You might read this and say, all good and well, but what is the actual threat to me as a client of Seychelles Yacht Charter? That is the response I was hoping for.

Did you know that you are 100 times more likely to be mugged in your own hometown than you are in Beirut? That’s because you don’t live in Beirut. It sounds pretty obvious and logical doesn’t it... but the same sort of logic must be applied when considering the threat of piracy directly to yourself as our guest or even as a visitor to the Seychelles. Yes, piracy is a threat and a problem within the Seychelles EEZ, however that covers 1.374 million Km² of water, and attacks only occur many many miles from the main islands. If you are a fishing or commercial vessel sailing from the coast of Africa to the Seychelles, you could be at risk... If you are a leisure guest enjoying the islands around Seychelles, you are not at risk, simple as that. You see, the pirates would never venture too close to the main islands as there is far too much traffic and there is no way they would be able to successfully hijack a boat. Pirates are easy to spot via aerial surveillance, and they will be spotted and arrested long before they come anywhere near the waters we are legally allowed to operate in. We are only allowed to venture a maximum of 60 nautical miles from the main island of Mahe, and we rarely exceed 22 nautical miles. Only on deep sea fishing expeditions do we venture further, however we still stay well within the barriers set by the government of Seychelles.

With us, your safety is our utmost concern, and we can assure you that all steps are taken to guarantee that long before we leave the shore.

Please do not hesitate to contact us should you have any further concerns or questions on this subject or any other.

*Stats, figures, and facts are based on a presentation by Lt. Michael Rossette, Deputy Chief of Staff, Seychelles People’s Defence Force.


Thursday, 23 August 2012

From Monday 10th to Saturday 15th September, Seychelles Yacht Charter will be hosting the first ever outdoor boat show in the Seychelles.

It will be hosted at the Konobar Bayside Marina and will feature 3 beautiful vessels, namely Nkalindau, uShaka, and Seastream. Nkalindau is a Eleuthera 60 Fountaine Pajot which is a 5 Star Luxury Catamaran.  uShaka is a Riviera 43 which is an adventurous fishing yacht, and Seastream is a luxury Ferretti motor yacht.

The idea behind the event is to raise awareness not only for Seychelles Yacht Charter as a company, but also the yacht charter and brokerage business in the Seychelles as a whole. Entrance is free of charge and will afford members of the public the opportunity to board these incredible vessels in their natural environment... the water! Unlike at indoor boat shows, these are fully operational and functional commercial boats that a far cry from your standard fishing boats and catamarans. Visitors will be able to wonder around freely or guided, and experience the luxury accommodation, lounging and dining areas, and the various decks. For the more avid sailors or fishermen who might be interested in the more ‘technical’ aspects of the boats, the crew will be on hand to answer questions you might have.

Snacks and beverages will be available compliments of the Konobar Restaurant, and various promotional and informational material will be available through Lynn Gower, who will be our representative on-site during the course of the event. Lynn can also assist with any bookings and rates enquiries.

There will be a short opening ceremony on Monday 10th September followed by a site visit aboard all vessels. This will be attended by various members of Seychelles press, Seychelles Tourism Board, and representatives from local hotels, travel agencies, dive centres, local boat charters, private tour guides, company directors, as well as various diplomatic embassies.

The remaining days until Saturday 15th September will be open to the public to visit and enjoy. Should you be on Mahe, please do stop by and come and spend some time with us!




Thursday, 2 August 2012


Greetings and welcome to our blog!

We decided to start this blog in order to share more of the fun, technical and interesting sides of our business with you. This is by no means a replacement to our website, but rather over here, anyone interested in our business, yachting, fishing, and the Seychelles in general will get an opportunity to experience life onboard our boats and in the Seychelles.  We’ll regularly hear stories of fun and adventure from our crew, we’ll provide tips on the Seychelles, and hopefully in time we’ll even share some of the more technical aspects to sailing in the beautiful Seychelles!

As the blogmaster, I have been lucky enough to visit the Seychelles and spent time aboard our luxury catamaran, Nkalindau. It is truly a magical place, and from the moment you set foot on the main island of Mahe, you feel as if you have arrived home. The locals are carefree and friendly, and the crew will make you feel like you are part of the family whilst catering to your every need and desire. Whether you like water sports, hiking, beautiful scenery and still-life, checking out the local cuisine, the vibrant night life, or maybe you just prefer soaking sum Vitamin D in the year-round summer that the Seychelles enjoys, they’ll have you covered!

For any business enquiries or to find out more about the company, please visit our official website

Below are some short introductions by our fleet manager and skipper of Nkalindau, Gareth, as well as our skipper of uShaka and local expert, Francis.
Hi! my name is Gareth Dovey.
My name is Gareth Dovey. I have been the Captain of SY Nkalindau since April 2010 and fleet manager of Seychelles Yacht Charter since December 2011.
Having started on Nkalindau when she was brand new in France, I sailed her down the Atlantic to Cape Town and on to the Seychelles with 3 crew.
Having spent 2years in the beautiful Seychelles I have felt privileged to be able to discover paradise with Seychelles Yacht Charter and have been able to share these experiences and expose clients to the wonder of these remote Indian Ocean islands.
Having expanded our fleet in December 2011 I took the helm as fleet manager as well as the captain on Nkalindau. Seychelles Yacht Charter is growing and with the vision we work by, will become a leader in the Seychelles Charter industry in the very near future.

Gareth steering the ship!

My name is Francis Marie. I was born and raised in the Seychelles. I’m currently working with Seychelles Yacht Charter as skipper of our luxury fishing boat, uShaka. I’m a yacht master qualified skipper (RYA /MCA YACHTMASTER OFFSHORE 200gt).
uShaka is a new Riviera 43 which was added to the fleet early this year. I began my career at the company with the arrival of the first boat, Eleuthera 60ft Fountain Pajot, or as we call it, Nkalindau. I started as a cook/crew and moved on to be a skipper of uShaka. I was also 1st mate on delivery of the yacht from La Rochelle in France to Seychelles, a journey that took over 2 months!
uShaka the name of the sport fishing boat I skipper stands for the king of the sea. She is a beautiful boat. She is one of the best Sport-fishing boats here in Seychelles.
We offer a very high standard of service  in our company, and as a skipper, I like to ensure that standard is always met! I’m very lucky to have worked for the company for almost 2 years now and will be so happy to be with the company as it grows. I look forward to speaking to you more and maybe even meeting one day!

Here's Fransie showing us how it's done!

Thank you so much for taking the time to check out our blog! Please share with your friends, colleagues, and family, and dont be shy to subscribe via email on the right hand side of this page. Please do check out our YouTube account (also featured on the right hand side of this page) as well for some great videos on the Seychelles and our fleet!
Till next time... Orevwar!