Just days after the Royal Cayman Islands Police Service (RCIPS) made its first significant drugs bust of 2009, two new vessels have arrived in the Cayman Islands boosting the capability of the joint Police, Customs and Immigration Marine Unit even further.
The two 38-foot fast interceptor vessels are the second and third additions to the fleet following the arrival of Cayman Defender in September and are part of a government investment package into border protection worth approximately 7.7 million dollars. The package includes four new vessels and a state of the art marine base to be built at the end of Hirst Road in Newlands to house customs, police and immigration officers.
The first step to launching the new boats into Cayman waters will be taken on Monday, when Marine Unit officers commence an intense one-week training course with Safe Boats International, the manufactures of the vessels. Covering topics such as boat construction, engine installation and maintence, electronic system management, hull repair and boat maintence, the course will ensure the boats are used to the best of their ability.
"This specialist training will ensure that the vessels, and the Marine Unit, reach their full potential," said Superintendent Mike Needham, who has led the Marine expansion project for the last few years. "Once they are on the water, there is little doubt that they will have an immediate effect on drugs and firearms trafficking."
The Marine Unit has been growing in strength and effectiveness over the last two years. Just hours into the New Year the new Cayman Defender intercepted a canoe carrying four men and 385 pounds of ganja in Cayman waters. The men were arrested and have been charged with importation of ganja, possession of ganja with intent to supply and possession of ganja.
The fourth and final addition to the Marine Fleet, a 65-foot all purpose patrol boat is expected to arrive in Cayman in the coming weeks.
Anyone with information about the importation of drugs or guns into the Cayman Islands is asked to contact the Drugs Task Force or the Marine Unit on 949-7710 or Crime Stoppers on 800-8477 (TIPS). All persons calling crime stoppers remain anonymous, and are eligible for a reward of up to $1000, should their information lead to an arrest or recovery of property/drugs.