New Coast Guard vessel commissioned and named in honour of late Colonel Michael Shahoud

New Coast Guard vessel commissioned and named in honour of late Colonel Michael Shahoud

President Irfaan Ali today commissioned a multi-million dollar marine vessel for the Guyana Defence Force, in honour of the late Colonel Michael Shahoud, as the country builds the capacity and capability of the GDF to protect its territorial integrity and vast resources including its Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ). 

As he addressed the Commissioning ceremony at GDF Coast Guard headquarters, President Ali said the vessel – GDFS Shahoud –  will significantly enhance the country’s maritime capabilities at a time when it is losing billions of dollars in the EEZ. 

“This vessel will enhance our ability to patrol our waters, deter potential security threats, and respond effectively to any incidents that may arise. Whether the threats are interstate in nature or involve transnational criminal activities such as narco or human trafficking, pirary or illegal fishing, our vigilance and preparedness are critical. Transnational syndicates operating at sea are becoming increasingly sophisticated. They are employing ingenious tactics to evade detection and engage in illicit activities. In response. we must make greater investments in high-technology marine assets to ensure our defence capabilities are not outpaced. By equipping our Coast Guard with state-of-the-art surveillance systems, communication tools and vessels to respond to threats. These investments are crucial for maintaining the security of our waters, safeguarding our economic interests, and upholding the rule of law against those who seek to undermine it,” President Ali said. 

Noting that the Defence Force is also building its human resource capacity in conjunction with its regional and international partners, the President said the acquisition of the vessel forms part of the Government’s efforts to bolster the capabilities of the GDF.

He said the investments come at a time when the country is poised to become a major oil-producing state, but also at a time when it faces continued threat to its territorial integrity. 

According to the President, while Guyana has always championed diplomacy as its first line of defence of its sovereignty and territorial integrity, it is cognizant that such diplomatic endeavours must be complemented by a robust and responsive defence capability. 

“While we maintain strong diplomatic ties and seek peaceful resolutions to conflicts, we must also be prepared to take decisive action to protect our sovereignty and territorial integrity, and be prepared in conjunction with our partners and their capability. Our nation’s security strategy does not hinge on the support of external forces alone. Although we value and must cultivate and nurture our international partnerships, Guyana’s defence is ultimately our responsibility also. We are a peaceful nation, but we are also vigilant and must understand the threat that surrounds us. Therefore, we must always be in a state of readiness to ensure fundamental aspects of our independence and sovereignty is always safeguarded,” President Ali said.

US Ambassador Nicole Theriot said the commissioning of GDFS Shahoud is a representation of the strong bilateral relationship shared between Guyana and the US, and robust private public sector cooperation. According to the US Ambassador, GDFS Shahoud marks a significant milestone for the GDF. 

“Guyana’s extraordinary economic growth and development is transforming the land of many waters and the GDFS Shahoud is a reflection of Guyana’s unwavering commitment to its defence, and security. With the commissioning of this near coastal patrol vessel, the GDF will have extended range and advanced capability to conduct maritime patrols along the coast and into the EEZ,” the US Ambassador said. 

The vessel was manufactured  by US based company, Metal Shark. 

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