Madagascan patrol vessel launched in Mauritius

Jan 28, 2008
Author: Alain Malherbe

by Alain Malherbe (AeroShip – Port-Louis)

ATSANTSA, the largest boat built by the Chantier Navale De L’Ocean Indien in Port-Louis (CNOI), has been delivered to Madagascar. This patrol ship of 35 metres is intended for the monitoring of illegal fishing within the region and is to be homeported at Mahajanga.

Her mission is to prevent the plundering of Malagasy waters by poachers. The construction of the vessel was financed jointly by the Malagasy State and the European Development Fund.

At the time of the Protocolar ceremony in November 2007, Claudia Wiedey, head of the European Commission in Mauritius underlined that the construction of this patrol boat was not only a sign of the potential of the private sector in Mauritius but was also a symbol of the success of regional co-operation. The Minister for Agro-Industrial and Fishing Arvin Boolell also stressed its importance, “to prevent those fishing vessels under foreign convenience flag states to practice an organised highly lucrative plundering of the seas of the sphere.”

He said this was why Mauritius refused to allow the unloading of several fishing vessels not listed by the Tuna Commission of the Indian Ocean (CTOI). “These ships were suspected of devoting themselves to illegal fishing,” he said.

The minister announced that he intended presenting the Fisheries and Marine Resources Bill at the next session of the National Assembly. “A bill in which the fight against illegal fishing holds a choice of place,” he added.

Such surveillance is necessary in Madagascar where the marine resources represent “an enormous potential for the country,” according to Bruno Ranarivel, Madagascar’s Ambassador to Mauritius. “The ship will have a very important role so that our resources are not plundered by pirate ships.”

The choice of the name Atsantsa is appropriate, meaning ‘shark’ in Malagasy.

Following the handover of Atsantsa, Pascal Piriou, chairman of the shipyard said the CNOI intends expanding during 2008 and that the quays will be doubled in length to 350m. The commissioning of an elevator (syncrolift) of 1,400 tons is also envisaged which will allow the simultaneous dry-docking of two vessels of up to 55 meters in addition to those dry-docking the conventional way.



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