The United States Southern Command, in partnership with the U.S. Navy, has further contributed to the security of St. Kitts and Nevis through a three-week refurbishment project of a St. Kitts and Nevis Defence Force (SKNDF) Coast Guard maritime vessel in September of this year. This project follows the refurbishment of two other SKNDF nearshore intercept vessels in June.
Estimated at a cost of approximately US$110,000, the initiative is funded by the Caribbean Basin Security Initiative (CBSI) Foreign Military Financing Program. This project has increased the number of operational vessels in the SKNDF fleet and improved the country’s capacity to conduct operational and training missions.
Foreign Military Sales Case Manager with Naval Sea Systems Command (NAVSEA) Emmanuel Wondwossen explained, “The reactivation of SKNDF’s Zodiac 920 is significant for two reasons: First, it reintroduces a vessel back into SKNDF Coast Guard’s fleet that will bring increased capacity to carry out maritime operations. Additionally, the reactivation was truly a collaborative effort with significant contributions from the SKNDF, the CBSI Technical Assistance Field Team (TAFT), and NAVSEA. This joint effort will serve as a model for future support in the region.”
TAFT and Naval Sea System Command are key players in strengthening border security within the Caribbean. These teams were also instrumental to the vessel upgrades conducted within Grenada, Dominica, and St. Kitts and Nevis earlier this year. These upgrades are part of the U.S. Government’s commitment to support law enforcement and border-control agencies, defense forces, and regional security institutions with training, equipment, institution-building programs, and technical assistance.