Following the recent statement that Trinidad and Tobago may soon be spending an unknown amount of money on an unknown design from an unknown company in China I would like to bring a certain bit of information to the public’s attention
There is an existing ship design known as the Damen Stan 4207 patrol vessel built by the Dutch company Damen.
In the past decade Barbados, Jamaica and the Netherlands Antilles have each purchased three ships of this design. Additionally the US Coast Guard has announced that it will build at least 24 vessels of this same design. Even our next door neighbour, Venezuela, has ordered two. It would therefore seem that this is a design that has proven itself suitable for the Caribbean climate and related ocean conditions.
I note that Mr Griffith, our Minister of National Security, made reference to the Austal Patrol vessels as not being suited to our waters and that these Chinese vessels were “far superior, cheaper, more effective and better prepared for the type of situation we have here” (Guardian, February 26) and he also stated, “We do have a naval implementation team and they have actually looked at the vessel. They have looked at vessels from Korea as well and with their report they will actually give us the concept of what they see as the best type of vessel for us to move forward with”. (Express, February 26)
I would therefore like to ask if this design, in use by our Caribbean neighbours and our large neighbour to the north and apparently suited for our region’s climate and waters, was considered and evaluated by our Team. If not why not ? And if so how was it considered unsuitable for our use?