US Coast Guard vessel visits Ocho Rios

Wednesday, November 21, 2018

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THE United States (US) Coast Guard cutter Resolute, with its 78-strong crew, recently docked at Reynold's Pier in Ocho Rios, St Ann, for a three-day visit.

The Resolute provides a law enforcement presence in the Caribbean Sea, patrolling more than 11,000 miles and helping to deter illegal activity, including drug smuggling.

Mayor of St Ann's Bay, Michael Belnavis said the visit of one of the US's “most travelled and storied” coast guard cutters to Ocho Rios is a testament to the special relationship between Jamaica and the US, and “the commitment between the two countries to take the fight to criminals on the high seas”.

“We are very happy to have the Resolute and its crew members here in Ocho Rios,” he told JIS News.

“We are particularly happy that a number of our students and teachers were given the opportunity to tour the (vessel) and to get a feel as to how the maritime industry operates,” he added.

Belnavis pointed out that the job of the US Coast Guard is not only to intercept drug smugglers or protect America's borders, but also to provide “humanitarian assistance” at sea.

“There are many lives of persons fleeing from their homelands that could have been lost at sea had it not been for the US Coast Guard. The Resolute is one of those cutters which have been doing great work in the Caribbean region for decades, and it is a pleasure to have it here at our port,” he noted.

For his part, Us Army Lieutenant Colonel of the US Army, Pablo Raggio said that while the Resolute is always operation-ready, part of the visit to Ocho Rios was also for crew members to interact and enjoy ”some of the wonderful things” the town has to offer.

“Jamaica is a critical partner in our efforts to combat… transnational criminal networks seeking to exploit the maritime domain,” he pointed out.

Meanwhile, Lieutenant Colonel Raggio said that chief of defence staff of the Jamaica Defence Force (JDF), Major General Rocky Meade, and chargé d'affaires at the US Embassy in Kingston, Eric Khant have signed an agreement to assign a JDF liaison officer to the Joint Interagency Task Force South in Key West, Florida.

This assignment, he noted, is designed to provide improved collaboration and information-sharing.

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