At Tuesday’s post-Cabinet media briefing, PM Rowley said officials from Australian naval vessel builders- Austal are expected in T&T next week to evaluate six Coast Guard vessels that are “gathering moss” in an effort to return these vessels to patrolling T&T’s porous borders.
These six Coast Guard vessels are CG 11, CG 12, CG 13, CG 14, CG 15 and CG 16.
In response to PM Rowley’s claim that there was a conspiracy by Government employees to block Australian shipbuilders, International Catamarans (INCAT), from doing business with T&T, Opposition Leader Kamla Persad-Bissessar expressed that there is no need for the Government to procure another naval vessel for the T&T Coast Guard as twelve were purchased under the People’s Partnership’s tenure.
Persad-Bissessar failed to make mention of the Government’s plans to purchase two new vessels to service the Tobago seabridge but focused on the proposed purchase of a naval vessel. She further said that the vessels were out-of-commission because they were not being maintained by the Ministry of National Security and that the Coast Guard is not receiving enough fuel.
PM Rowley spoke about the Offshore Patrol Vessels (OPV), which were procured by a previous PNM administration, were not suitable for patrolling the coast. Under the PP’s administration, the procurement of the OPVs were cancelled and in its place, four Damen Stan Patrol 5009 Coastal Patrol Vessels, two Damen Fast Crew Supply 5009 Utility Vessels and six Damen Interceptor DI 1102 interceptors were purchased. She said these vessels had different ranges and speeds and were capable of locking down T&T’s border.