Cops consider sale of boats

| 07/02/2011

(CNS): The police Marine and AirSupport units have been working well together in the fight against crime, the commissioner recently revealed, but these valuable police assets may still be depleted. Speculation that the RCIPS could be selling some of its boats was not denied by a spokesperson last week, who confirmed an internal review had taken place. Police have said that any sale of marine unit assets will be considered in relation to the current strategic threats but boats could still be lost, despite the fact that the helicopter is being utilised in direct combination with vessels from the Marine Unit to intercept boats in Cayman waters that may be bringing in drugs and guns.

The cost of maintaining the helicopter, however, may be the reason why the RCIPS will lose some of those boats that are used in the actual interdiction of contraband.

“An independent review of the RCIPS was undertaken recently and as part of this the Marine Unit was subject to scrutiny,” a police spokesperson confirmed, adding that the review was more than a cost cutting exercise.

“Recommendations are being made to the Cabinet concerning RCIPS assets including the Marine Unit. No decisions have been reached and there are no current changes in fleet size or numbers of staff being undertaken. The sale of any marine assets must be considered in relation to the overall strategic threats relating to border security and the ability of the Cayman Islands Government and RCIPs to safeguard its Islands and its people.”

Both the governor and the police commissioner have consistently repeated recently that the elected government is willing to finance the police needs and that cuts impacting the rest of the public sector will not be allowed to undermine the resources the RCIPS needs to fight crime.

Speaking at both the Chamber meeting and the press briefing updating the public on the current crime statistics, Baines said Cayman is becoming a transshipment point in the drugs trade and, as a result, border control was becoming an increasingly important element in addressing the crime on island, with the need for solid marine support more important than ever.

The arrival of more drugs and guns from the United States and the wider region, the commissioner said, required an even greater crackdown at the country’s airport and seaport, backed up by the use of the helicopter and the police boats to intercept the vessels at sea that are being used by criminals to bring the contraband in and out of Cayman.

It is not known if the cost of flying and maintaining the helicopter, which is believed to be in excess of $1milllion per annum, is presenting an “either or” situation for the police, making officials examine what assets they can lose in order to keep the machine flying.

The police helicopter currently has one pilot directly employed by the RCIPS but a second pilot is expected to arrive next month. US based Arrow Aviation LLC, which was engaged in 2007 when the chopper was first purchased, are continuing to carry out the maintenance as the police said they have been unable to secure a contract through the CTC process. As a result, a decision has now been made, the police say, to employ their own maintenance engineers to look after the helicopter but it is not clear if this will see a reduction in running costs and save any of the marine fleet.

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  1. Anonymous says:

    The Marine Unit should be comprised of 2 divisions.  A small local policing fleet of smaller nimble boats (mainly to nab renegade jetskiers and drunk captains), and a sophisticated Navy of sea-going vessels capable of multi-day deployments at sea for drug interdiction and search and rescue. Cayman should be collaborating with allied regional navy’s, coast guards, and long range air support to assist in the required interdiction efforts.  Most of the recent Marine expansion fleet sits either rusting on trailers or idling at Rum Point/Kaibo.  If that’s the extent of the commitment to our safety, then they should just sell the toys.


  2. anonymous says:

    check the stats; not one drug canoe has been seized since the arrival of this helicopter. i seem to remember in 2009 there was one being seized every 3 to 4 months as well as the years before this. i don’t know what has happened but something has gone awfully wrong.

  3. Anonymous says:

    Since its all one government maybe they should donate one to Cayman Brac Fire service to replace the piece of junk they have now.

  4. Anonymous says:

    I find it quite entertaining that the government in a country with as strong a maritime history and current community as we have are considering reducing our marine units and resources. If anything, the government should look to allocate more to these units – not necessarily in the way of flashy police boats, but there are other areas of worthy investment.

    For example, we still do not have a marine fire-boat. If there were some sort of accident on the water involving fuel/oil fires we have no resources to deal with such a situation. Not to mention, Cayman is a small enough island for a marine fire boat to be useful even on land; it would also make use of sea water rather than precious fresh water to out fires. Similarly, we are also lacking a marine ambulance (as they have in certain other water based cities such as Venice, Italy). The number of maritime accidents in Cayman has been rising and yet no one has made this connection. As an individual who has been working in the EMS/Fire Rescue industry for a number of years now, these units should have been instituted years ago!

  5. Anonymous says:

    The boats are quite lovely and very sexy. I do wonder how they were selected though. I am sure the inflatable style with hot rod outboard engines is far more expensive to operate and maintain (over a 20+ year span) than a solid hull with a couple of diesel engines.

    The new outboard engines have a computer on board that reads the number of hours and rpm. It will be interesting to look at the logs to see if there is a comparison of full throttle running (at probalbly 75-100 gallons an hour) to emergency calls, or if they correspond to showing off running past Rum Point to Kaibo.

  6. Bobby Anonymous says:

    Thats what happens when you get to much pocket money, you buy to many candies.

    Why is there so many different marine sections within Gov?
    Police, DoE, and the Fire service.
    Lets put them all together! Less staff, Less boats, More sense!

  7. Owl says:


  8. pmilburn says:

    There goes the neighborhood!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    • Concerned says:

      Bad move to touch the Marine Unit. Too many incidences take place in Cayman waters where the Marine unit is needed to respond. That unit is definately needed.

  9. Anonymous says:

    This helicopter is not providing a good return on investment. We had many more interdictions with just a marine section (with fewer assets I might add) than we have had since getting the helicopter.

    Its not the assets that is the problem, its the policy and management.

  10. Oliver says:

    Well, if this happens we have not seen anything yet, The little deterrent that happens now by the criminal knowing that Poilce have this quipment does help. Government has to try to by all means keep this Unit of the Police, we dont have any coas guards etc here, if the people that they rescuse have to bay a fee like the ambulance fee, then that shold be introduce. This would be a Bad Bad Bad move , trust me

  11. Michel Lemay says:

    If the boats are not been used regularly it don’t make sense to keep them. Everyone knows that boats can detoriate quickly if left unatended. Monies could be used to pay the police force individuals overtime when needed.

  12. Anonymous says:

    I hope the RCIP and cabinet have enough crime fighting sense when drafting new laws and policies; ITS TIMETO START SEIZING the carriers of contraband. ALL  large vessels or boats bringing in guns and drugs into our territory. Based on the amount of guns and drugs rampant in this little country the government should not be broke nor struggling for money for you should be  not only hurling these criminals to jail but TAKING AWAY THEIR TOYS TOO. I mean,  Their Ferari, Hummers, convertibles, BMW’s, Yachts, speed boats, Houses, lands etc. etc.  Sell their expensive hub caps. PUT THE MONEY IN OUR TREASURY!