St. Vincent and the Grenadines Coast Guard Service History
The formation of the a Coast Guard Service within Saint Vincent and the Grenadines was inevitable and by 2nd December 1980, eight (8) young men were recruited to start the formation of a Coast Guard Service; these personnel were recruited from the Royal Saint Vincent and the Grenadines Police Force and graduates of Secondary School.
On the 1st January 1981, these eight (8) persons were on their way to England to undergo Marine Engineering training in Electrical and Mechanical Engineering. The Mechanical Engineers were trained at the Royal Navy Engineering School, HMS Sultan and the Electrical Engineers at HMS Collingwood. Four (4) Mechanical and two (2) Electrical Engineers completed the respective courses successfully by October 1981. The Mechanical Engineers were Corporal Marcus Richards (retired Lieutenant, deceased), Police Constables Ricardo Theobalds, Desmond Corea, and Clement Patrick (deceased). The Electrical Engineers were Police Constables David Robin (Retired Commander) and Harlon Cambridge.
On 26th October 1990, the acceptance and commissioning ceremony of the Coast Guard Base at Calliaqua took place. The Base now provides a home for Coast Guard Vessels and men who were previously stationed in Kingstown at the main Docks. The construction of the Coast Guard Base was funded by the British Government and constructed by Kier International.
The acceptance ceremony for the first Coast Guard Vessel the George Mc Intosh was held on 6th March 1981 in Portsmouth, England. Funding for the vessel was provided by the Government of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines. It was a 75 ft patrol craft that was built by Vosper Thornycroft of Portsmouth England.
This Vessel arrived in Barbados from England by early November 1981. The vessel made its maiden voyage from Barbados to Saint Vincent between 20th and 21st November 1981. The Vessel was commanded by Lieutenant Commander David Fisher (Royal Navy) Sergeant G Hazell, Corporals K. Robinson, Marcus Richards, and Police Constables David Robin, Ricardo Theobalds, Harlon Cambridge, Brinsley May, Desmond Corea and Clement Patrick.
The George Mc Intosh was commissioned on 21st November 1981 in Kingstown. The Vessel then carried out its first successful search and rescue operation on 19th January 1982, when it rescued motor vessel “SIMONE. V” which was located in a position 10 NM North East of Saint Vincent. Coast Guard vessel George Mc Intosh was decommissioned in 2007, and is presently at storage at the Ottely Hall Marina and Ship Yard.
On the 1st June 1987, the Coast Guard Vessel “CAPTAIN MULZAC” sailed from Louisiana, United States of America (USA) to join the Coast Guard Service in Saint Vincent and the Grenadines. The coast guard vessel Captain Mulzac was a 120ft patrol boat that was built by Swiftships Inc. of Morgan City Louisiana USA. The Vessel arrived in the Saint Vincent and the Grenadines waters on 12th June 1987. The vessel was funded and was maintained by the U.S Government. The acceptance and commissioning ceremony took place on 13th June 1987. The crew that made the maiden voyage from the USA was Sub-Lt .D. Robin (Captain) Sub Lt .G. Hazell, Midshipman .D. Corea (Engineering Officer), Petty Officer M. Richards, Leading Seaman B. May, E. Slater, Able Seaman A. Harry, L. Stephens, Seaman C. George and L. Samuel.
Since the Coast Guard Vessel Captain Mulzac joined the fleet of ships’ operated by the Coast Guard it had served as the flagship for the unit mainly conducting regional security patrols, however the Vessel carried out its’ first search and rescue operation on 6th July 1987, when it rescued motor vessel “ALVA” which was in distress 3.5 NM West of Layou and was Towed into Layou Bay. Coast Guard vessel Captain Mulzac was decommissioned in 2009.
On the 1st April 1984, the members of the Coast Guard Service were granted the right to wear the present blue uniform worn by the Coast Guard Personnel today. The Rank Structure was also changed on that day to replace the traditional Police Rank Structure with the Naval System similar to that used by the Royal Navy.
On 4th June 2007, the members of the Coast Guard Service were given General Duty Rig and Sea Rig to wear on Base while on duty. These Rig were issued for the comfort of the Coast Guard personnel and also for quick response in cases of emergencies at sea.
Since the inception of the Coast Guard, the unit has developed into a well organized, dependable and efficient service. A number of persons have being trained in the following disciplines, Marine Electrical training, Marine Engineering, Seamanship and Navigation, Diving, Disaster Preparedness, Port Security, Fabrication and Maintenance, Administration , Logistics etc.
Presently the Coast Guard strength stands at 89 persons. Coast Guard personnel are normally trained in the Barbados and Antigua (Regional Security System Training Unit), United States of America (United States Coast Guard/United States Navy), England (Royal Navy) and at the SVG Coast Guard Base.