With the help of a U.S. military-aid package, this past year has been one of profound change for the Barbados Coast Guard. Beginning in February, Willoughby Fort in Bridgetown, home base for the service since 1982, was formally decommissioned and turned into a passenger processing center for visiting yachts and cruise ships. On 14 September, the 25-year-old facility was replaced by Pelican, the new Barbados Coast Guard headquarters at Spring Garden, St. Michael. Concurrent with the commissioning of the Pelican facility, a new 42-meter patrol ship, Leonard C. Banfield, entered Coast Guard service. Constructed by the Dutch shipbuilder Damen, the Banfield will soon be augmented by sister ship Rudyard Lewis, shown here while fitting out in the Netherlands during September. A third unit of the class has been ordered and other vessels, including three 40-foot fast patrol boats, are planned for the fleet as well. In addition to new vessel construction, personnel numbers for the force are being dramatically boosted with a 150-percent increase over the next five years.
By Eric Wertheim