Renamed GDF Coast Guard offshore patrol vessel arriving soon after rough sea trials

Last Updated on Monday, 15 April 2024, 19:16 by Writer

The US$11.5 million offshore patrol vessel (OPV) that was purchased from the American company, Metal Shark, underwent a rigid sea trial that resulted in the need to make a number of modifications to make it fit-for-purpose in Guyana’s marine environment, sources said.

“Sea trials must have problems,” one source said.

Shortly after leaving the shipyard in the United States, sources said the vessel was forced to stop in Puerto Rico, Guantanamo Bay in Cuba, and more recently Barbados to address a number of issues that were identified during the sea trial.

The OPV is now expected to arrive in Guyana later this week, after several months of delay.

Sources confirmed that the vessel was renamed from GDFS Berbice to GDFS Shahoud in honour of former Guyana Defence Force (GDF) Coast Guard Commander, Michael Shahoud who perished in a helicopter crash last December. At the time of his passing, Col Shahoud was Commander 1 Infantry Battalion.

There is some skepticism that GDFS Shahoud would be able to patrol near the oil production and exploration ships for extended period because the maximum the vessel could spend at sea is seven days, according to well-placed sources who are familiar with the Coast Guard’s capacity needs. Those sources said the Coast Guard needed a vessel that could stay as much as two weeks at sea.

In terms of modifications, the 35-metre-long GDFS Shahoud’s cooling system had to be adjusted to use warm and silty water off Guyana’s coast in contrast to cold and cleaner water in North America.

The OPV was acquired to patrol Guyana’s exclusive economic zone (EEZ) to counter a range of illicit activities including illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing and provide overall security.