US-made GDF Coast Guard Offshore Patrol Vessel arrives

Last Updated on Monday, 22 April 2024, 18:42 by Writer

The Offshore Patrol Vessel, GDFS Shahoud, about to dock at the GDF Coast Guard headquarters, Ruimveldt, Georgetown.

The Offshore Patrol Vessel, GDFS Shahoud, finally arrived in Guyana on Sunday and docked at the Guyana Defence Force’s Coast Guard headquarters at about 10:30 AM, well-placed sources said.

Modeled as the 115 Defiant, the vessel should have arrived in Guyana last year October, but that was shifted to February, 2024. However, sources said the vessel, made by the American company, Metal Shark Boats, encountered several difficulties during sea trial and adjustments were made as the vessel headed to Guyana. The vessel made several stops along the way to Puerto Rico; Guantanamo, Cuba and Barbados before arriving in Guyana’s waters.

The vessel is said to have modern navigation and communication systems.

Originally named GDFS Berbice, the brand new 115-foot long vessel has been renamed GDFS Shahoud in honour of Colonel Michael Shahoud who perished in a helicopter crash last December in Guyana’s rugged mountainous and thickly vegetated interior.

The patrol vessel, according to well-placed sources, would equip the GDF to conduct domain awareness in Guyana’s exclusive economic zone (EEZ), conduct search and rescue operations, stop illegal fishing and intercept drug traffickers.

Meanwhile, the GDFS is expected to acquire a larger offshore patrol vessel, the OPV-190, from France in another 24 months. The 190-foot long vessel would be manufactured by France’s OCE S.A. at a cost of US$42 million. The source said the 190-foot long vessel would perform the functions of a mothership which could be deployed for a longer period at sea and resupply the GDFS Shahoud with food, fuel and other necessities.

The OPV-190 can carry 30 crew members and can take 24 passengers on board. It can travel over 4,000 to 5,000 kilometres at 12 knots and its maximum speed, which depends on the load, can reach 30 knots.