Cops get full marine fleet

| 19/02/2009

(CNS): The focus on border protection is now in full swing following the arrival of three new purpose-built vessels for the joint Customs, Police and Immigration Marine Unit. Two new 38-foot fast interceptors, Tornado and Niven D and the 65-foot patrol boat, Cayman Guardian, join the Cayman Defender, which arrived in September last year, to bring the fleet up to full strength.

Officers from the unit have completed familiarization training, and residents of all three islands can expect to see them on active patrol and duty.

“These are great assets for us,” said Superintendent Mike Needham, who has been overseeing the marine expansion project for the last two years.  “Each boat has its own special capabilities which will benefit the unit in different ways, but ultimately they all have the same goal: to protect our borders and prevent contraband and illegal immigrants from arriving on our shores, to assist with safety upon the water and to help safeguard the tourist industry by providing a professional and effective search and rescue service.”

Needham said that with drugs and guns arriving in Cayman via the sea, these boats are particularly important to the fight against crime and have already demonstrated their worth. “Just this weekend one of the new vessels was involved in an operation to intercept a vessel suspected to be carrying drugs into Cayman waters. This is just the start of things to come,” Needham said.

The vessels have a combined value of just over US$2.8 million and are part of a wider government investment package into border protection worth approximately $7.7 million. The package includes the four new vessels and a state-of-the-art marine base, which is currently being built at the end of Hirst Road in Newlands, to house customs, police and immigration officers.

Police said that the arrival of the boats is the culmination of almost two years hard work by the project team, which includes Head of the Marine Unit Inspector Brad Ebanks, Sergeant Shawn Bodden, Sergeant Clive Smith, Peter Multon of the Public Works Department and Reshma Sharma of the Legal Department. “We really are very proud of these vessels and anyone involved in the trafficking of drugs or guns should look at these boats and feel very concerned. We are better equipped than ever to find them and catch them,” added Needham.

Anyone with information about crime taking place in the Cayman Islands should contact their local police station or Crime Stoppers on 800-8477 (TIPS). All persons calling Crime Stoppers remain anonymous, and are eligible for a reward of up to $1000, should their information lead to an arrest or recovery of property/drugs.

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  1. Anonymous says:

    Our success rate won’t be good if we keep getting them damaged as often as we have. I think we need to have these guys trained properly to avoid this.