Prime Minister DrRalph Gonsalves, who has responsibility for national security, toured the new coast guard vessel docked at the cruise ship berth late Saturday afternoonhours after it arrived here from the Damen shipyard in Holland Saturdaymorning.
The vessel, named Captain Hugh Mulzac after the Union Island-born Hugh Mulzac who was the first black man to be captain in the US Merchant Marine, is the latest addition to the St Vincent and the Grenadines Coast Guard fleet. And it was the second coast guard vessel to be named Captain Hugh Mulzac – the first having been decommissioned and dissected some years ago.
The Offshore Patrol Vessel (OPV) is equipped with a small vessel which can be launched in seconds.
Prime Minister Gonsalves said the vessel, also equipped with advanced technology, is expected to play a major role in helping to patrol the nation’s territorial borders in the fight against illicit drug trafficking and other criminal activities.
The vessel which cost over EC$6 million is expected to give a service life of 20 years.
Prime Minister Gonsalves said St Vincent and the Grenadines is the only OECS-member state to have an OPV.
Coastguard commander Brenton Cain said the Captain Hugh Mulzac is expected to be launched at an official ceremony in January of the coming year.