During his recent state visit to Sri Lanka, President James Michel and his delegation visited several institutions with a view to strengthen maritime cooperation in areas such as shipbuilding, maritime security and maritime training.
President Michel visited the In-shore Petrol Craft Construction Project boatyard at SLNS Mahasen in Welisara, where he was received by the Commander of the Sri Lanka Navy Vice Admiral Somathilake Dissanayake.
He viewed several naval vessel construction projects and workshops of the Sri Lankan Navy as well as a presentation on the development of the navy’s own designs in relation to its maritime security threats.
“Seychelles and Sri Lanka have extensive experience of fighting piracy at sea, and we have much to learn from each other, and develop joint-training programmes to combat this kind of maritime security threat. We need to ensure the security of our ocean in order for us to be able to develop our blue economy for the benefit and prosperity of our people,” said President Michel.
President Michel also visited Colombo Dockyard, accompanied by the Sri Lankan Minister of Fisheries & Aquatic Resources Development Dr Rajitha Senaratne and was briefed by the Colombo Dockyard Managing Director and CEO Mangala P. B. Yapa on the activities of commercial dockyard. The President discussed the possibilities for shipbuilding and ship repairing for Seychellois ships and boats at the dockyard, as well as the ranges of engineering services and ship models that are available. The delegation were given a tour of the dockyard, which concluded with a visit onboard GREATSHIP ROOPA, a 78 m Platform ROV/ Support Vessel recently built by the commercial shipbuilder.
President Michel then toured the Colombo International Nautical and Engineering College(CINEC), which has 14,000 students a year and offers programmes of maritime science study from certificate level to Bachelors, Masters and Doctoral Degrees, with internationally recognised certification.
“Sri Lanka has the potential to become a shipbuilding hub for Seychelles, and given the proximity of our islands as well as the competitiveness of the Sri Lankan market, we would stand to benefit greatly from this partnership. I was also greatly impressed by the training offered by CINEC, and we have discussed the possibility to develop a partnership with the Seychelles Maritime Training Centre,” said President Michel.