Bermuda Fables

"I have come to the conclusion that politics are too serious a matter to be left to the politicians." – Charles De Gaulle

No Search and Rescue? August 28, 2009

Filed under: Uncategorized — alsys @ 3:56 pm

There’s been a big fuss since Hurricane Bill over the Police boat, the MV Guardian. This $1.7m vessel, bought in 2006, has had a long history of criticism from all angles due to perceived issues of underuse, especially considering the price. Minister Burch even, last year, commented that he thought the money could have been better used and he had no input into the decision (as reported by the RG). The 54ft, four manned boat, was bought for large sea rescues but due to the size and the number of Officers needed to man it sufficiently, it is not practical to use for most day-to-day Marine Police business. Especially when you consider the many low shoal areas around our island.


The issue arose again recently when it was discovered that the vessel had been removed from the water during the recent Hurricane for safety reasons and furthur hindered by an RG report that another boat was in distress and was actually towed in by a civilian’s boat. The police countered that no actual distress call was put into the Marine Service and actually were only notified when the boat was on its way in, at which point they were informed that no furthur assistance was actually required. This has prompted people to question why we bought such an expensive Search and Rescue vessel if indeed it is not meant to be used for that purpose (to the point of actually dry-docking when it would be most useful). The fact of the matter is, while this is a larger boat than the rest of those in the Marine Service fleet, it is still not meant to be used during hurricanes for not the least of which is safety reasons.


In a press conference yesterday, the Deputy Commissioner commented: “Let’s be clear about what it was never meant to do. The MV Guardian was never meant as a routine patrol vessel because it would cost too much to run it daily. We have a number of other vessels that are available to do routine patrol. It is not expected to be deployed in adverse conditions.”


The Police Service get a lot of flak about many things without (and some within) their control – especially lately with rising violent crime. This one, however, appears to be more of a lack of education on what actually our Police are capable of and staffed/equipped enough to do. It would be a great idea to have our own version of the US Coast Guard (being an island and thusly surrounded by water) but we don’t. We have neither the manpower nor the equipment to be able to do the type of rescues that we see on tv. Much as in the case of our current Government, excessive criticism (in certain cases that it is actually unwarranted) serves no purpose but to waste time of those having to defend things unnecessarily. And furthur weakens the legs of warranted arguments.


3 Responses to “No Search and Rescue?”

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