US-Funded Upgrades Bring Coast Guard Fleet to Full Strength 

PR – Wednesday, December 16, marks the completion of the United States government’s year-long  US$1 million upgrade of the Royal Grenada Police Force Coast Guard’s two nearshore  intercept vessels. The SAFE Boat Mid-Life Upgrade included a complete vessel overhaul, new  engines, and a spare parts package to ensure continued operability. The upgrades extend the  vessels’ performance for an additional six years and bring the Grenadian Coast Guard fleet  to full strength. 

The upgrade of the two Grenadian Coast Guard drug interceptor vessels was made possible  through U.S. State Department’s Caribbean Basin Security Initiative’s (CBSI) Foreign  Military Financing (FMF) program and U.S. Southern Command (SOUTHCOM). Work was  conducted by SAFE Boats International technicians, the CBSI Technical Assistance Field  Team (TAFT) and Naval Sea System Command (NAVSEA). The project supports Grenada’s  own defense and its contributions to regional security. 

U.S. Embassy Principal Officer Karl Duckworth explained, “This vessel upgrade continues  SOUTHCOM’s and the U.S. Embassy’s Enduring Promise of regional support and security  cooperation with Grenada and the Eastern Caribbean. We stand with Grenada to strengthen  national border security, protect its territorial waters, and counter narcotics smuggling and  other forms of transnational crime.” 

The first vessel’s overhaul process was completed in February, and it has been in active use  as the backbone of Coast Guard operations for maritime security against illegal activity. Due  to the global pandemic, the second vessel’s upgrade completion was delayed until recently;  however, in November, technicians returned to Grenada to complete their work. Certification  sea trials performed last week completed the project, bringing the Grenadian coast guard  fleet to full strength. 

“The United States is a strong partner on interdiction efforts, and the SAFE boats have been  invaluable,” said Deputy Commissioner of Police Franklyn Redhead. “For example, in April  the RGPF used one of the boats to arrest three individuals, two from St. Vincent and one from  Grenada, and recovered approximately 379 pounds of marijuana, a boat, and cash worth  almost $320,000.”

The United States originally provided the two SAFE boats to Grenada as part of CBSI FMF  grant in 2012. With work able to resume in the Eastern Caribbean, Dominica, St. Kitts &  Nevis, and St. Vincent & the Grenadines will also receive vessel upgrades in 2021. It is 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.