by Kevon Browne
St. Kitts and Nevis (WINN) – The St. Christopher Air and Sea Port Authority (SCASPA) is strengthening security for the deepwater port with the commissioning of a new Security Patrol vessel PV “O’ Land of Beauty”.
The Commissioning Ceremony was held at the SCASPA’s Deep Water Port in Bird Rock yesterday (Wednesday, March 9).
“The commissioning today (March 9) of the patrol vessel “O’ Land of Beauty” actually falls into and compliments a master plan to boost our capabilities to provide top-notch high-level security and ultimately will protect the lives, livelihoods and the assets of this corporation,” said the Hon. Lindsay Grant, Minister of Tourism, Transports and Ports, at the ceremony.
The commissioning of PV “O’ Land of Beauty aids in securing and protecting vessels from any unlawful interference, threats or international acts of terrorism at sea or in ports according to a resolution issued by the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) and in alignment with the International Ship and Port Facility Security (ISPS) Code.
The vessel is 33 feet, with two Mercury 200 horse-powered engines, with fibreglass windows fully equipped with radar detection capability and can reach speeds of 30 knots (35 mph).
“The PV “O’ Land of Beauty” will be used to patrol the Basseterre harbour, to provide security for cruise vessels while they are in port. SCASPA’s patrol perimeter, or its port’s limits, range as I understand it from Fort Point (around the Fort Thomas area) to Frigate Bay. In situations where a cruise vessel might occupy the area of Friars Bay in the region of Carambola, the vessel will also provide presence checks as deemed necessary,” said Minister Grant.
The Deputy Security Manager for SCASPA, Everett Mason, called the commissioning a significant milestone in the authority’s efforts to comply with the ISPS Code.
“A selected group of highly skilled officers, called the port police, under the capable hand of Captain Bruce Moses is tasked with the responsibility of conducting water-side security patrols at our ports and by extension our territorial waters.”
The Deputy security manager said the officers are coast guard trained and will undertake further training. In addition to security, the port police unit will be responsible for the general upkeep of this vessel.
According to Grant, there will be no less than three officers on board during any operation involving the vessel.
“Daily surveillance will not only help to reduce risk and enhance security awareness but also serve as a deterrent to any perceived security threat,” explained Mason.
The port police will work with the Coast Guard, Customs and Excise, and the Nevis Air and Sea Port Authority.
At the close of the ceremony, “O’ Land of Beauty” had its maiden voyage with a few stakeholders, including Minister Grant, Chairman of the SCASPA Damion Hobson, CEO of SCASPA Ivor Keithley Phillip, and others.
Watch the entire ceremony here: