Belize Coast Guard Saves 109 Lives in Outstanding Year of Search and Rescue Operations

Belize Coast Guard Saves 109 Lives in Outstanding Year of Search and Rescue Operations

One hundred and nine lives were reportedly saved by the Belize Coast Guard, since the start of this year.  That is the number shared with us by Rear Admiral Elton Bennett as he reflected on his teams’ performance.  According to Bennett, the statistics reflect an excellent performance by the BCG as it relates to search and rescue operations as well as law enforcement on the seas.

RADM Elton Bennett, BCG Commandant: “We performed well in all areas of operations. For example in search and rescue we received thirty distress calls over the past year and of those thirty distress calls we saved 104 lives at sea and that’s very important. And this includes not only Belizean mariners but mariners transiting Belizean sea spaces. You know we run a very efficient search and rescue system here in Belize and the Belize Coast Guard is the point agency that is responsible for maritime search and rescue and we haven’t lost a life after receiving a distress call. So we have a very good system in place where our operational readiness has been tested and we’ve proven that we’ve been very good in that regard. In other areas as well in the protecting the marine environment, our marine resources over the past year we’ve made over one hundred and fourteen thousand dollars in contribution through fines into government coffers. Now we don’t like to use statistics to measure our operational effectiveness but those are just some of the figures that came to light at the end of this year. Another one of those very important operational results is the reduction of coastal piracy. Now this is huge because a few years ago Belize was plagued by coastal piracy where we’re talking about firearms being used against mariners, we’re talking of murders and different major incidents at sea resulting directly from piracy. That has been reduced to zero this year. There have been no death recorded at sea as it relates to coastal piracy and we believe that has a lot ot do with our strategy of being forward deployed and being aggressive in order to deter those criminal activities from occurring.”

Commandant Bennett spoke to our newsroom during a luncheon for the Coast Guard which also coincided with the recent intake of seamen serving their first official day on the job today.

RADM Elton Bennett, BCG Commandant:“Recognize day one on duty for the graduates of recruit intake number eleven. This is the first day of reporting to work. They left their family and they’re here in the Coast Guard family. Yes the nature of business is very different. Maritime security is a very different type of operation but we conduct that as a family as well. Belize Coast Guard is a family just as your biological family that they will have to spend time with during the season at Christmas and New Years when they return back to work the will also return back into a family.”

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