Jamaica Adds the “HMJS Alexander Bustamante” to Coast Guard Fleet!

Modern Jamaica Today 16
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Jamaica’s national interests & international obligations within the maritime space covers over 500,000 square kilometres.

By Rochelle Williams for the Jamaica Information Service
© 2021 Jamaica Information Service – All Rights Reserved

HMJS Alexander Bustamante Added To JDF’S Fleet

The naming and commissioning ceremony of the Her Majesty’s Jamaican Ship (HMJS) Alexander Bustamante, was held at HMJS CAGWAY, Port Royal on Thursday (December 30).

It is the latest addition to the JDF fleet. It will operate with a crew of 17 and will deploy as part of the Second District JDF CG fleet. It arrived at HMJS CAGWAY on August 5.

The ship will be employed in fulfilling the traditional roles of the Second District 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 and ceremonial duties.

The HMJS Alexander Bustamante ship type is a Damen Fast Crew Supplier 4207. Specifications include: length overall of 42.8 metres, beam 7.11 metres, max draught 2.5 metres approximately, speed 26 knots, range 1,800 nm at 12 knots, endurance 14 days, propulsion 2 × caterpillar 3516 B (5632 bhp), gearbox reintjes WVS 930/1, propellers 2×controllable pitch propeller, generators 2×3056 T, generator output 400V, 50 Hz. The Port of Registry is Kingston.

The ceremony also featured the naming of the HMJS Samuel Sharpe and HMJS George William Gordon.

The renaming of HMJS Cornwall and HMJS Middlesex to HMJS Samuel Sharpe and HMJS George William Gordon comes after the Defence Board gave approval for the class of the offshore patrol vessels (OPVs) to be changed from County Class to Honour Class as a result of the expansion of the Coast Guard’s fleet.

In his address at the ceremony, National Security Minister, the Hon. Dr. Horace Chang said the Government is committed to investing in the expansion of the JDF’s fleet of offshore patrol vessels. These assets will facilitate Jamaica’s defence and the protection of her interests in the maritime domain through enhanced maritime domain awareness and response capabilities, he said.

Jamaica’s national interests and international obligations within the maritime space covers over 500,000 square kilometres. Dr. Chang said the country’s maritime security environment continues to be characterised by traditional and non-traditional and emerging threats.

“Given the growing influence of transnational threat networks, particularly illicit drugs and arms traffickers, the emergence of new trafficking routes by traffickers engaged in contraband and human trafficking, illicit migration and illegal unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing, we must strengthen the JDF’s capability to monitor and safeguard our maritime areas of responsibility, which include the maritime borders of the country,” he said.

Dr. Chang emphasised the protection of Jamaica’s maritime space as an imperative for national security and sustainable development.

“This is crucial to the emergence and viability of Jamaica’s Blue Economy which has the potential to be a significant contributor to our long-term economic growth prospects,” he outlined.

The National Security Minister noted that the formation of the Maritime, Air and Cyber Command will, among other things, more effectively and efficiently deliver joint air and maritime operations. In addition, the recent standing up of the second district of the JDF Coast Guard in November of this year, constitute critical components of the JDF’s structural innovation and capability development to counter the influence of transnational threat networks.

Each OPV has significantly bolstered the JDF Coast Guard’s capability to monitor and safeguard Jamaica’s maritime borders. The OPVs have provided the additional capability of maintaining a 24-hour presence within the maritime space.

The vessels have been playing the role of strategic defence and naval duties in Jamaica’s vast maritime area of responsibility.

The vessels also play a major part in the fight against illicit trafficking, in particular, the gun-for-drugs trade along the Haiti-Jamaica corridor.

Regular patrols on the Pedro Banks have also increased the fight against poaching and illegal fishing in that area.

Another significant responsibility is illegal migrant interdiction, with Haiti causing Jamaica to increase its vigilance.

The assets have, overall, aided in the broadening of the scope of Maritime Domain Awareness for the country.

By Rochelle Williams for the Jamaica Information Service
© 2021 Jamaica Information Service – All Rights Reserved

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