by Kevon Browne
St Kitts and Nevis (WINN): The St. Kitts Nevis Coast Guard’s two-drug interceptor vessels have benefited from a three-month-long refurbishment as part of a US$950,000 modernization initiative.
The upgrades were completed On Wednesday, June 23, and were made possible through the US State Department’s Caribbean Basin Security Initiative’s (CBSI) Foreign Military Financing(FMF) program and the US Southern Command(SOUTHCOM).
“Both vessels are now even more capable to fulfill the organization’s operational needs as we continue to ensure our maritime borders and territorial integrity of the Federation are secured,” SKNDF Coast Guard Commander Major W. Andrew Bass said, according to a press release from the US Embassy in Barbados.
The SAFE Boat Mid-Life Upgrade included a complete vessel overhaul, new engines, and a spare parts package to ensure continued operations.
Work was conducted by SAFE Boats International technicians, the CBSI Technical Assistance Field Team, and Naval Sea System Command. The project will strengthen St. Kitts and Nevis’s ability to conduct maritime patrols and protect its coastal waters.
“As part of the U.S. Embassy’s commitment to the Regional Security System member states, we see these recent maritime upgrades as critical to supporting an important security partner like St. Kitts and Nevis and its ability to protect its territorial waters, counter illicit trafficking, and combat transnational criminal organizations,” reported Deputy U.S. Military Liaison Office Chief, Lieutenant Colonel Shane Moran explained.
The United States originally provided the two SAFE boats to St. Kitts and Nevis as part of the CBSI FMF grant in 2012.
They are part of the U.S. Embassy’s U.S.-Caribbean Strategy, which focuses on cooperation in the areas of security, health, energy, education, economic prosperity, and diplomacy.