- The Jamaica Customs Agency’s (JCA) fleet of patrol boats has increased to two, following the acquisition of a 27-foot Boston Whaler vessel.
- The vessel better positions the JCA to support the operations of the Marine Police and Jamaica Defence Force (JDF) Coast Guard.
- The JCA has obtained two additional boats from the JCF, which are being refurbished and should be available by year end.
The Jamaica Customs Agency’s (JCA) fleet of patrol boats has increased to two, following the acquisition of a 27-foot Boston Whaler vessel.
The boat, named the ‘Skip McLaughlin’, was procured from the Jamaica Constabulary Force’s (JCF) Marine Division under a partnership between the agencies.
It joins the ‘Skip Jack’, also acquired from the JCF and which the JCA has been utilising for border patrols and marine surveillance within the island’s territorial waters over the past four years.
The Skip McLaughlin, which was commissioned during a brief ceremony at the Marine Police headquarters at Newport East on Tuesday (August 9), was refurbished at a cost of approximately $800,000, and is equipped with twin 250-horsepower outboard engines, navigational devises and has a top-end speed of 40 knots.
It is able to patrol up to six miles from Jamaica’s coastline, and can transport a maximum of 12 persons.
The vessel better positions the JCA to support the operations of the Marine Police and Jamaica Defence Force (JDF) Coast Guard.
The JCA has obtained two additional boats from the JCF, which are being refurbished and should be available by year end.
Finance and Public Service Minister, Hon. Audley Shaw, in his address at the commissioning ceremony, said the Skip McLaughlin will enhance the JCA’s marine operations.
He lauded the JCA’s partnership with JCF, which facilitated its acquisition of the vessel and refurbishing of the two boats, describing it as “very encouraging”.
Mr. Shaw disclosed plans to acquire additional aircrafts and boats for the JDF over the next several months to further boost their capacity to “adequately patrol our borders around the country”.
He expressed appreciation of the hard work of the JCA officers, noting that the administration was mindful of the challenges they face in executing their duties.
In his remarks, JCA Chief Executive Officer and Commissioner of Customs, Major (Ret’d) Richard Reese, assured that with the vessels “we will be able to respond…based on our border protection role”.
The commissioning ceremony included the blessing of the vessel by the JCA’s Director of Investigations, Rev. Cassel Dunkley. State Minister for Finance and Planning, Hon. Fayval Williams, named the vessel and performed the traditional breaking of a bottle of champagne against the boat’s hull.
State Minister in the Finance Ministry, Hon. Rudyard Spencer; and Senior Advisor to Minister Shaw, Senator Aubyn Hill, were also present.
The commissioning ceremony was followed by a brief trial run in the Skip McLaughlin.