Belize Coast Guard receives major donation

Posted By: Marty

Belize Coast Guard receives major donation - 11/02/11 02:46 PM

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U.S. Ambassador to Belize Vinai Thummalapally will be handing over is pleased to two Boston Whaler Outrage Justice Series boats, two SAFE Defender Class boats, two F-550 Ford Trucks, and a 40-foot container of spare parts to the Belize Coast Guard tomorrow. The Boston Whalers were provided by the U.S. Southern Command Counter Drug Program while the two SAFE Defender Class boats, trucks, and spare parts are being provided by the Central American Regional Security Initiative (CARSI) Program. The equipment being handed over is valued at over eight million Belize dollars.

Posted By: Marty

Re: Belize Coast Guard receives major donation - 11/03/11 02:27 PM

Coast Guard Gets Major US Sponsored Upgrade

The Belize National Coast Guard may have taken a credibility hit when a vessel was stolen from under its collective nose a few weeks ago. But they got the boat back - and their credibility got a shot in the arm as well today when the United States Army Southern Command and the Central American Regional Security Initiative made a major donation of hi tech hardware.

And we don't mean flashlights and toolkit... no... they got super-fast boats and heavy duty trucks.

Jim McFadzean was there:

Jim McFadzean Reporting

The latest high tech equipment and gadgets delivered to the Belize National Coast Guard this morning are intended to build the capacities of armed forces in small nations like Belize working in tandem with the United States to combat narco- traffickers and narco- terrorism.

H.E. Vinai Thummalapally - U.S. Ambassador
"The counter drug program is a mighty year bilateral effort led by the US Southern Command, and is designed to lay the ground-work for a regional security network of maritime patrollers, that complement the partner nations' current capabilities. Today, the Coast Guard is receiving 2 Boston Wailers, 370 outrage justice series boats, and 2 334 defender class SAFE boats, valued at $4 million US. The boats each include 3 4-stroke Mercury outboard engines that will be able to interdict and maneuver in coastal areas, and maintain sustained high-speed vector chases on the open seas. It includes a 10-year limited hull warranty, over-the-horizon tactical tracking system, a chart plotter with touch-screen, GPS navigation equipment, radar, a multiple-band radio, and shock mitigating seats."

With Belize's waters wide open to all kinds of illicit activities, including, from human to drug trafficking, the new vessels should significantly improve the capabilities of the coast guard to patrol and secure the country's coastal waters.

H.E. Vinai Thummalapally
"CARSI envisions strengthening and integrating security efforts from the US southern boarder all the way to Panama, including the coastal waters of the Caribbean. The desired objective of CARSI is to produce a safer and more secure region where criminal organizations no longer wield the power to destabilize or threaten national or regional security."

Lt. Gregory Soberanis - Flotilla Commander, BNCG
"Definitely for the law enforcement capability that it has, this is a very maneuverable boat. It has great maneuvering capability; it's designed to be a tactical boat. There are very few, if any, vessels that can out-maneuver a vessel or a craft of this size and this build."

Hon. Carlos Perdomo - Minister of Defense
"These two SAFE boats will be deployed to San Pedro, Ambergris Caye to patrol the northern sectors that shares the maritime boarders with Mexico, and includes areas of interests such as Corozal Bay, Sarteneja, Bacalar Chico, Hol Chan Marine Reserve and Caye Caulker. You know that these are Belize's most active maritime areas for tourism, recreational boating, and fishing, but you also know that these are the areas used by persons involved with trafficking of people and the movement of drugs from south to north."

In a light hearted moment at this morning's commissioning of the four vessels, the Minister of Defense, Honorable Carlos Perdomo, intent at mitigating some of the recent bad press surrounding the theft of firearms at the BDF headquarters, and the light craft stolen from the coast guard this month, shared this good humored anecdotal tidbit.

Hon. Carlos Perdomo
"I was at a christening about two weeks ago, and somebody at the christening said, 'The Coast Guard stopped us and they searched us, but let me tell you. They were courteous; they were professional, and when they came up to us, everybody respected them and were very cooperative.' And again, you see, things got back to me. And we have to do a lot of that because we have to make up for that little boat that was lost."

That quip was followed with an assurance from the Acting Commandant of the Belize National Coast Guard, that lessons have been learnt...

Commander Elton Bennett - Acting Commandant, BNCG
"Ambassador, I can assure you that these vessels will be properly safe-guarded, and will be operated by qualified personnel within the Coast Guard's standard operating procedures."

And, as if to get even with the media for that same bad press the Minister alluded to, we were fed, and immediately taken out to sea at full throttle, in one of the high performance SAFE defender vessels. While it wasn't for the faint of heart, we were given an impressive show.

Petty Officer Logan - Class II, BNCG
"We are moving at around 44.6 to 45.7 nautical miles per hour."

Lt. Gregory Soberanis
"This vessel can go up to 50-55 nautical miles per hour quite easily, and it provides great comfort. It allows us to respond to any law enforcement mission rapidly. It also allows us respond a search-and-rescue situation very quickly. So it definitely enhances our operational capability at sea."

The new sophisticated vessels will certainly allow the Coast Guard to expand its reaches in patrolling the volatile waters of this nation, but what remains to be seen is whether the BNCG is able to safeguard these new assets.

A select group of coast guard personnel have received training in the United States in the operations and maintenance of the new vessels.

The Boston Whalers are provided by the U.S. Southern Command Counter Drug Program while the two SAFE Defender Class boats, trucks, and spare parts are provided by the Central American Regional Security Initiative (CARSI) Program.

Channel 7

Posted By: Marty

Re: Belize Coast Guard receives major donation - 11/03/11 02:32 PM

Coast Guard receives $8 Million donation

The Belize National Coast Guard is the gate keeper of our territorial waters but it has limited resources to curb organized crime and other illicit activities that have become more prevalent and daring. As a part of an ongoing fight against transnational crime in the region, the U.S Southern Command and the Central American Regional Security Initiative (CARSI) programs made a donation of vessels valued at eight million Belize dollars to the Coast Guard. News Five’s Andrea Polanco reports.

Andrea Polanco, Reporting

The Belize National Coast Guard received a big boost to their fleet of vessels. Four brand new crafts are a major part of a much needed upgrade. The vessels, fully equipped to man our waters, are operation-ready:

Carlos Perdomo

Carlos Perdomo, Minister of Defence & Immigration

“Today the Coast Guard reaches a significant milestone in its young history. In the Coast Guard Medium Term Strategy, it advises us that that Coast Guard fleet should be upgraded from its aging Colombian Skiffs to a more professional fleet of vessels that would not only improve our operations but also command the respect required of a professional coast guard.”

Vinai Thummalapally

Vinai Thummalapally, U.S. Ambassador

“The Coast Guard is receiving two Boston Whalers three hundred seventy Justice Series Boats and two thirty-three fourth Defender Class safe boats valued at four million U.S dollars. The boats each include three four stroke mercury outboard engines that will be able to interdict and maneuver in coastal areas and maintain sustained high speed vector chases. It includes a ten year limited hull warranty and over the horizon tactical tracking system. A chart plotter with touch screen and G.P.S navigation equipment, radar, multiple band radio and shock mitigating seats.”

Coast Guard personnel were trained in Belize and the U.S to ensure proper maintenance of the vessels. Acting Commandant, Commander Elton Bennet says that additional security measures have been implemented for the security of the newly acquired vessels:

Elton Bennett

Commander Elton Bennett, Acting Commandant, BNCG

“What we did is to put measures in place, physical security measures but we also did an inquiry and we looked at the different systems that we have in place, for example we have increased the guard strength three-fold. We also looked at our rules of engagement, you know at that night on that night shots were fired by the guard men. Unfortunately the thieves got away, but we are looking at the rules of engagement and other physical security measures such as cameras, and supervisory checks.”

The new addition to the Coast Guard’s fleet was commissioned with the symbolic breaking of bottles of champagne by the spouses of commanders. These commissioned vessels will assist in the much needed security of our maritime borders.

Vinai Thummalapally

“The United States and regional leaders believe this investment will yield major long term security progress in our region and will enable the Government of Belize to address the transnational threats of terrorism, illicit trafficking of humans, weapons, drugs and illicit merchandise.”

Andrea Polanco

“Is there any specific area where these vessels will be assigned to?”

Commander Elton Bennett

“The two new Boston Whalers will work down south, operating from a Fountain Caye operating base. They will patrol the southern border with Guatemala and with Honduras. The two safe boats will be deployed to Ambergris Caye. They will patrol the northern border with Belize and Mexico. They will patrol the areas of Corozal Bay, Sarteneja, Ambergris, San Pedro, Bacalar Chico Marine Reserve, Caye Caulker Marine reserve, Hol Chan Marine Reserve. That area is very busy with maritime activities but also with illicit activities; drug trafficking, contraband and even possible human smuggling.”

As a part of the donation, the Belize National Coast Guard also received two F-Five Fifty Ford Trucks and a forty-foot container of spare parts. Reporting for News Five, I’m Andrea Polanco.

Channel 5

Posted By: Loansum-Al K

Re: Belize Coast Guard receives major donation - 11/03/11 06:32 PM

Those SAFE boats go for over half million dollars used!!
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