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The Guyana Defence Force Coast Guard Floating Base at Pomeroon is proving to be a valuable national asset in the fight against piracy particularly in the Essequibo. This is according to Coast Guard Commander (Cdr) Gary Beaton recently led a team of Coast Guard officers on one of the regular inspection visits of the base.  The Commander indicated that, the base’s deployment in November 2012, there have been no reports of piracy in the area.

The upsurge in piracy activities along the coast of Guyana gave rise to the need for the construction and deployment of the base. The Commander explained that the base was deployed to engage in anti-piracy operations and the ranks have commenced the development of a maritime information database. This database he said is developed from what is known as Visual Sighting Reports (VSR). The VSRs log the movement of vessels in the area with a view to determining their patterns of “behaviour” or activity.

Cdr Beaton indicated that Coast Guard regularly patrols the seas off the Essequibo Coast. “The Coast Guard has responsibility for the security of Guyana’s territorial waters including the Exclusive Economic Zone and inland waters,” he said, “The presence of Coast Guard ranks on patrol in these waters is not meant to only serve as a deterrent to potential wrong-doers, but to enforce the laws as they relate to the nation’s waterways. To this end, our ranks can effect interdict vessels operating illegally in our waters of which may be operating in contravention to established national safety regulations and arrest person engaged in such breaches or other illegal activities while at sea.”

The Commander visited the base to check on the operational state of the facility and also included an inspection of the communications equipment and a probe into the efficacy of the communications protocols between the base and other GDF bases. Cdr Beaton indicated that the operational state of the base is good and the morale of the troops located there is high.

The floating base was deployed on November 4, 2013 with thirteen ranks, including the Officer in command, onboard. It is located at the mouth of the Pomeroon River. The initial crew members of the base will go down in history as the first to crew such a facility. It is envisaged that in the future, other such facilities will be deployed along the coast.