GDF’s new patrol vessel to arrive this month – Chief of Staff

The content originally appeared on: INews Guyana

Guyana’s capacity to monitor its maritime borders will be significantly bolstered with the arrival to local shores, later this month, of a brand-new Offshore Patrol Vessel (OPV), which was built by United States-based Metal Shark Boats for the Guyana Defence Force (GDF).

Chief of Staff of the GDF, Brigadier Omar Khan disclosed that this acquisition was part of efforts to modernise and expand the army to meet future defence and security needs – a huge aspect of which is to boost its assets.

“We are expecting a maritime asset, and that maritime asset has departed for Guyana and should be arriving mid-this month. That was a multi-year project where a new asset was being built and will be assigned to the [GDF] Coast Guard as part of their responsibility of managing our maritime areas of operation,” the Army Chief stated.

Brigadier Khan was at the time speaking at a media briefing alongside the Commander of the US Southern Command (SOUTHCOM) Air Force arm, Major General Evan Pettus, who wrapped up a three-day visit to Guyana on Friday.

The Chief of Staff said that in preparation for the arrival of this patrol vessel, GDF ranks have been undergoing training over the past three years on operating the OPV.

Similarly, he disclosed, training is also being conducted in anticipation of the Guyanese army’s air assets being enhanced.

“Obviously, when a capability or asset is acquired, there’s still training and support mechanisms. So, we have planned for that already,” Brigadier Khan stated.

The Guyana Government has heavily invested in boosting the country’s defensive capacity. In fact, a significant portion of the $1.146 trillion Budget 2024, from which the GDF alone received $42.2 billion, has gone towards building the technical capability and assets of the local security sector.

Back in October 2023, Metal Shark Boats said the 115-foot Defiant patrol vessel earmarked for Guyana, dubbed the “GDFS Berbice”, was completed and had departed it Louisiana production facility in the US. The vessel had travelled to the company’s Bayou La Batre shipyard in Alabama, US – from where it would leave for Guyana’s shores.

Metal Shark Chief Executive Officer Chris Allard had said that the vessel would play a key role in helping to protect Guyana’s oil and gas industry.