Coast Guard receives $8M equipment from the U.S. Print E-mail
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Written by The Guardian   
Thursday, 03 November 2011 00:00

Coast Guard donationOn Wednesday November 2nd at the Coast Guard Headquarters, a ceremony was held for the donation of 4 vessels, 2 trucks and a container of equipment to the Belize Coast Guard from the United States Embassy. The total worth of the donation is valued at just over million dollars.

The four vessels represent a significant upgrade and an improvement in the abilities of the Coast Guard. They are now the proud owners of 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.

At the gifting ceremony, members of the Coast Guard presented themselves to be addressed by the US Ambassador, Vinai Thummalapally, and Minister of Defense, Hon. Carlos Perdomo. Both men said that the donation represents the level of friendship and cooperation between the US and Belize.

Ambassador Thummalapally spoke to The Guardian saying that the Boston Whalers are being 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 Ambassador also said that this gifting is part of an initiative that reaches as far back as 5 to 6 years ago. It is an ongoing partnership with the Belize Coast Guard to assist with countering the outfits of the different illicit trades which are very technologically advanced and properly outfitted. One problem is the narcotics trade which has grown in the last 10 years.

He said that with these boats, the Coast Guard can better carry out their daily duties, because the technology of the vessels and the abilities are improvements.

These vessels are outfitted with sophisticated technologies. They have radar, over the horizon tracking systems, global positioning system (GPS) and other equipment. The SAFE vessels can travel at speeds in excess of 45 nautical miles per hour, and they can travel as far as 450 nautical miles with one full tank.

   The maneuverability of these vessels is very advanced. They are able to make extremely sharp, high-speed turns and curves that would be dangerous to ordinary vessels, and they provide a level of comfort for the crew operating them, they are complete with shock absorbing chairs, seat-belts, air-conditioning, and sirens with an apparatus for loud-speaker communication with operators of suspect vessels.

Needless to say, the Coast Guard is very grateful for the upgrades that these vessels represent.