Prime Minister Dr. The Most Honorable Hubert Minnis congratulated the Commanding Officer and the ship’s company of HMBS MADEIRA for their excellent performances at the official Commissioning ceremony for the Royal Bahamas Defence Force patrol craft.
The ceremony, which took place at HMBS Coral Harbour on November 28, is the ninth and final vessel procured under the Sandy Bottom Project to be commissioned. The acquisition of 9 vessels represented the ending of the first phase of a three-part modernization program to assist the Defence Force with the decentralization of its operations. The honored patron of the commissioning ceremony, Her Excellency The Most Honourable Dame Marguerite Pindling, Governor General of the Commonwealth of The Bahamas, received the Royal Salute from the Royal Guard commanded, Sub Lieutenant Delroy Dennis. The Parade Commander for the occasion was Lieutenant Commander Warren Smith.
Signed in 2014, the agreement between the government of The Bahamas, VAN Oord and Damen provides for the provision of 9 new states of the art patrol and auxiliary craft, the refit of 2 Bahama Class vessels and the acquisition of a bridge simulator. It also includes the improvement and creation of adequate jetties, docks, and breakwaters for the Royal Bahamas Defence Force in Coral Harbour, Ragged Island, and Inagua. In his keynote address, Prime Minister Minnis noted that the implementation of the 2nd and 3rd phases of the Force’s decentralization program, which are currently underway, is designed to
create a multi-layered security program with the establishment of bases in the southern Bahamas and acquisition of detection and tracking technologies. As these developments unfold, he said to expect an exponential increase in the apprehension of those engaged in illicit activities within our territorial waters with a corresponding increase in the security, peace, and prosperity of our nation. The Minister of National Security, the Honourable Marvin Dames also thanked the members of the Defence Force for their service to the country. He commended them for their performance during the last 5 years for apprehending or assisting in the apprehension of over 6,000 undocumented
migrants; capture of 13 Dominican vessels with over 180,000 pounds of fisheries products; the rescue or assistance of over 600 lives at sea; and the capture of over 3,000 pounds of marijuana and 250 kilos of cocaine with an estimated street value of $6,600,000 dollars.
The Commissioning Warrant issued by Commodore Tellis Bethel, Commander Defence Force was read by Captain Adrian Chriswell, Captain Coral Harbour (Acting), as per naval tradition. The Jack and Ensign were officially hoisted and the ship’s commissioning Pennant broken (raised) for the first time. Altogether, the commanding officer, Senior Lieutenant William Sturrup, and his ship’s company were responsible for apprehending five Dominican vessels since HMBS Madeira’s delivery. Three of those arrests were made this year with 124 Dominicans being apprehended, and subsequently charged and convicted by the court. Defence Force Officers and Marines were joined by other distinguished guests, families, friends and Defence Force personnel, both active and retired at the commissioning ceremony.