The Royal Cayman Islands Police Service has spent nearly $20,000 on repairs of its four new Marine Unit patrol boats in the first few months of their operation.
One of the incidents in which the patrol boat Tornado was damaged is now the subject of an internal investigation by the police service, and another patrol craft, Niven D, was taken out of service for reasons the police refused to discuss further because they had the potential to ‘endanger the security, defence or international relations’ of the Cayman Islands.
The information for this article was disclosed to the Caymanian Compass via an open records request the newspaper made to the RCIPS.
According to the records provided, the Guardian, one of four new boats purchased for the Marine Unit, sustained the loss of its propeller. It was taken out of service for three days, two of which were for routine service, according to police. The total costs for replacement of the ship’s shaft and propeller was $6,022.43.
Another Marine Unit craft, Defender, had to have repairs to its propellers on four separate occasions. It was out of service for a total of six days, two of which were for routine service. RCIPS spent CI $6,882.94 for the repairs. Some $5,000 of that was for what police considered to be routine service.
The Tornado was out of service for two days. But police declined to state the reasons for that because the incident was subject to an internal investigation. Police have previously refused to discuss questions about that craft being involved in an accident earlier this year.
Police said $4,023 was spent on repairs to the Tornado, and indicated about $2,600 of that was for routine repairs.
The last new patrol craft, Niven D, was taken out of service for an unspecified period of time earlier this year.
The RCIPS said a break down led it to sideline the craft. However, citing section 15 of the Freedom of Information Law, the RCIPS refused to disclose the nature of reasons for the break down because it might endanger security or defence of the Islands.
Repairs on the Niven D cost $2,803.23, with $1,534 being spent for what was termed routine service.
The new patrol vessels arrived in Cayman in January and February and significantly boosted the shore patrolling capabilities of the combined police, customs and immigration Marine Unit. The unit previously had to rely on one large craft, Cayman Protector, two smaller 22-foot vessels and a handful of jet skis.
The new boats were part of a CI$7.7 million government investment into border protection that includes a new marine base in Newlands on the southern end of the North Sound.
Marine Unit officers were given an intense, one-week training course with vessel manufacturers to go over topics such as engine maintenance, hull repair and boat maintenance.