The Dominica Police Force has added to its fleet two secure seas interceptor vessels. The two vessels were officially commissioned on Thursday May 31, 2012 and are multi-mission capable platforms.
Nearly identical to boats used by the U.S. Coast Guard, they are ideal for law enforcement and maritime security but are also excellent platforms for search and rescue and are capable of towing small vessels in distress and responding to environmental or natural disasters.
Secure seas is a Maritime Security Assistance Initiative that aims to bolster the capabilities of Dominica and other Caribbean nations to deter threats associated with transnational organized crime.
The Program, managed by The U.S. Southern Command provides boats, communication systems and training to nine Caribbean nations.
Prime Minister Hon. Roosevelt Skerrit, during his address stated that with the commissioning of the two patrol boats, Dominica now has seven vessels at its disposal.
“I would not be disclosing any national security matter to signal to theWorld would be security elements that these vessels are equipped with advanced and state-of-the-art tracking equipment and more over, they are really sea-planes disguised as boats.”
The Prime Minister made special mention of the training provided to 25 police and customs officers in operating and maintaining the two vessels and other advanced techniques of interdiction on sea, land and air.
Major General John Croley says that the Caribbean Basin Security Initiative has been reviewed very well.
“In this fight, in this struggle, it’s not just one nation against those that would transgress our laws and our borders but it has to be a collaborative effort. In the programme, the Caribbean Basin Security Imitative, the secure seas is part of that and that has enabled this programme of just not what you see out here in the floating hardware but as that interaction with a regional security system and CARICOM and working with those great leaders in inter-linking that information between radars, between intelligence that we collect and making it a more viable system and one nation cannot do that alone, it’s a regional effort and I think you are well on your way to success in the future.”
Meantime both vessels, patrol boat Royer and patrol boat Lugay which were commissioned on Thursday were named after two deceased former police officer’s, Martin Royer and Patrick Lugay.
Royer joined the police force in 1975 and served in various departments including the Marine Unit in 1985.
Lugay joined the police force in 1980 and joined the SSU.
US Ambassador to Dominica, H.E. Larry Leon Palmer in his address at Thursday’s ceremony explained that the commissioning of the new vessels is a direct result of Dominica’s support for the Caribbean Basin Security Initiative.
“On January 27, 2011, Dominica was the first Eastern Caribbean nation to take advantage of our Caribbean Basin Security Initiative by signing the cooperative agreement for the two boats that we see here today. Dominica is the first Eastern Caribbean nation to officially receive the two vessels and Maritime Support Package to support their effectiveness.”
“I would like to commend Prime Minister Hon. Roosevelt Skerrit for his regional leadership. I’m very proud to be able to stand here today with all of you as the United States of America and the Commonwealth of Dominica join together as part of a shared security partnership to address the trans-national security challenges that faces all… Dominica’s Coast Guard has been a strong partner and has taken an aggressive stance to keep Dominica safe from illicit narcotics trafficking and other threats to the regions maritime borders.”
Ambassador Palmer explained that the two vessels are part of a 1.7 million dollar package of assistance for Dominica.
“I’m so pleased and happy to present to the Commonwealth of Dominica these two fine thirty-three foot defender class safe interceptor vessels and other equipment worth over one point seven four million dollars. This equipment includes a robust communication system. It includes training and technical support, maintenance, repairs and spare parts and a heavy duty pickup truck to get people where they need to go. The interceptor boats and the installed communication system will provide the country a distinct edge in detecting, tracking and pursuing suspects and will facilitate operational deficiency between nations. This Maritime support package is only part of a long-term US commitment to support and build the capacity of the National Security of the Commonwealth of Dominica. Since the launch of the Caribbean Basin Security Initiative in 2009, the US has committed more than 2.95 million dollars in direct bilateral assistance to this country to reduce illicit trafficking and increase d public safety for all of our citizens.”