[SAR] SVG increases its range at sea with new coastguard vessel

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[SAR] SVG increases its range at sea with new coastguard vessel

Unread post by bimjim » Sat Jan 26, 2019

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[SAR] SVG increases its range at sea with new coastguard vessel
2019/01/25

THE NEWLY commissioned vessel of the St Vincent and the Grenadines Coast Guard fleet will allow for coastguard officers to better secure the furthest points of this country’s maritime space. A commissioning ceremony was held for the Captain Hugh Mulzac on Monday at the Cruise Ship Terminal. The 42.8 metre vessel was built by Damen Shipyards in the Netherlands; it has a crew capacity of 19 and an endurance of 14 days at sea.

Prime Minister Dr Ralph Gonsalves, while speaking at Monday’s ceremony, said that the coast guard currently has six vessels in its fleet. But none can take the officers to the furthest point of this country’s maritime space.

“Now this country has a relatively small landscape — 150 square miles, and we have a seascape of about 11,000 square nautical miles. About close to 100 times the land space that we have. The coastguard has been doing very heroic work but we have to give them the tools to do better than they have been doing,” he said. “It’s the largest vessel to date acquired by the coast guard. These rhibs (rigid-hulled inflatable boats) which we have and safeboats can help us to intercept and interdict persons who are trafficking in drugs and arms and persons, but they can’t take us to the furthest point of our exclusive economic zone and we are entitled under the international law of the sea to 200 miles exclusive economic zone.”

Gonsalves, who is also the minister with responsibility for national security, also said that eight more officers will be added to the ranks in an effort to bolster security. He further said that plans are being made to have a medical evacuation vessel added to the fleet as well. Finance Minister, Camillo Gonsalves said the boat cost approximately US$6.5 million and it is an investment in the security of this nation’s marine space and people. He also said that SVG was the first country in the Organization of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS) to have a coast guard vessel of this size in its fleet.

“I will point out that there is a causal connection between crime and development everywhere in the world; that if your crime rate is high, if your population is unsafe, if your citizens are not secure, the development of your nation will suffer and in a country such as ours, a country of 32 islands and cays, a country that is not so much a small island developing state as it is a large ocean developing state, it is important and critical that we invest in the safety and security of our oceans, of our waters, of our fisherfolk and of the residents of our grenadine islands,” the finance minister said. Gonsalves noted the intention for this country to benefit from the “Blue Economy” by attracting people to the waters of SVG through yachting, fishing and diving. And he said that all of those activities have an element of danger that requires security.

“On the flip side of having all of these wonderful waters and flip side of our wonderful location, is that St Vincent and the Grenadines is located between the supply of drugs and the demand of drugs. We’re located between the countries that produce narcotics in South America and the countries that consume them in North America. So in addition to our yachtsmen and our yachtswomen and our fisherfolk and our divers, we are often visited by drug traffickers and all of these people on and in and under the water require the attention of the Captain Hugh Mulzac in one way or the other and we today are proud that the honourable prime minister had the vision and the foresight to commission such a vessel. We are safer for its presence…,” he said.

In his remarks, Errington Shurland, the director of the Regional Security System (RSS) said that cooperation among national agencies in the regional jurisdiction is of critical importance in combating mutual security challenges. “The transnational nature of criminality and terrorism put the criminal elements beyond the reach of any single law enforcement agency or indeed any single one nation. Because they are transboundary in nature, combatting these threats requires countries to work more closely together than ever before,” he said.

Shurland said that the RSS was “a co-operative security alliance between the states of the Eastern Caribbean and Barbados that facilitates mutual support to the seven member states in times of disaster or for any security threat to our individual or collective security” and he encouraged countries to continue to work together in their mutual goal of security.

Alan Borde, the area manager of Damen Shipyards for the Caribbean, also delivered tried remarks at Monday’s event. He said that the cooperation between his company and the Vincentian government will continue beyond the handing over, since Damen remains committed in providing support into the next generation.

The Captain Hugh Mulzac was named after Vincentian and famed seaman, Hugh Nathaniel Mulzac who is known for being the first black man to pass the shipping masters examination in America in 1918. This vessel replaces a previous one which bore the same name.

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