JDF Receives Surveillance Vessels

Photo: Rudranath Fraser Prime Minister the Most Hon. Andrew Holness (right) and the Most Hon. Mrs. Juliet Holness (second right) listen to a point being made by Commanding Officer, HMJS Middlesex, Lieutenant Commander Aceion Prescott (foreground) aboard the vessel following the official naming and commissioning ceremony at HMJS Cagway, Port Royal on February 28. At left is Minister of National Security, Hon. Robert Montague.

Story Highlights

  • The Jamaica Defence Force (JDF) Coast Guard received two new maritime offshore surveillance vessels which will allow the army to increase its activities in protecting the island’s borders.
  • Speaking at the official naming and commissioning ceremony yesterday (February 28) at HMJS Cagway in Port Royal, Prime Minister the Most Hon. Andrew Holness said the vessels will bolster the JDF’s monitoring and interdiction capabilities in the island’s maritime domain.
  • “Ideally, detection must happen before there is a threat to our waters and the employment of these vessels coupled with the introduction of new technology will achieve good results,” the Prime Minister said.

The Jamaica Defence Force (JDF) Coast Guard received two new maritime offshore surveillance vessels which will allow the army to increase its activities in protecting the island’s borders.

The vessels: HMJS Cornwall and HMJS Middlesex will be employed in fulfilling the traditional roles of the JDF Coast Guard.

These include: search and rescue, fisheries protection, maritime law enforcement, marine environmental pollution control, coastal surveillance, anti –smuggling and drug interdiction, aid to the civil power and other government agencies, ceremonial duties and maritime safety.

Speaking at the official naming and commissioning ceremony yesterday (February 28) at HMJS Cagway in Port Royal, Prime Minister the Most Hon. Andrew Holness said the vessels will bolster the JDF’s monitoring and interdiction capabilities in the island’s maritime domain.

He said the acquisition forms part of strategies to secure the country’s borders and is a significant part of the island’s integrated and comprehensive set of measures and actions to reduce crime.

He said the Government remains cognisant of the threats within the maritime domain and as such the strengthening of border control and maintaining territorial integrity is integral to national security.

Some of these threats include but are not limited to illegal fishing, unsanctioned movement of persons and goods, human trafficking, illicit drugs and guns trafficking and terrorism.

“Ideally, detection must happen before there is a threat to our waters and the employment of these vessels coupled with the introduction of new technology will achieve good results,” the Prime Minister said.

Meanwhile, Mr. Holness said the addition of the maritime patrol aircraft in short order will significantly enhance the Unit’s capability to detect and monitor any activity as required.

“Local and international persons can be assured of the enhanced response capabilities when navigating in Jamaican waters,” he said.

He stated that the men and women of the island’s security forces continue to extend themselves in defence of fellow citizens, on the nation’s streets, in the air and in the maritime space.

“I must single out the members of the JDF Coast Guard for their sacrifice and service over the years and highlight their role in saving over 200 lives at sea each year,” he said.

Prime Minister Holness further noted that the increased business and consumer confidence that the country is now experiencing, must be bolstered by improving and safeguarding the nation’s security.

“The government is committed and encourages all citizens to recognise their individual roles in making Jamaica a safer place,” he added.

In his remarks, Minister of National Security, Hon. Robert Montague said the Government is making a deliberate effort to address equipment challenges faced by the security forces, so that they can effectively tackle the issues related to crime and border security.

For his part, Chief of Defence Staff, Major General Rocky Meade said the JDF Coast Guard is responsible for the island’s maritime space which is 25 times Jamaica’s land mass.

“The protection, prevention and interdiction of threats in Jamaica’s maritime domain is more achievable with the effective employment of (these) vessels,” he said.

The vessels were built by Damien Shipyards in Gorinchem, Netherlands and delivered to the JDF Coast Guard on January 10, 2017.

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