Agriculture Minister Zulfikar Mustapha on Friday said that in light of increased traffic within the Guyana Maritime space, the $ 99 million Fisheries Department monitoring vessel will be fully operational within two months.
He noted that while the ship was acquired, approximately $ 51 million worth of equipment is yet to be acquired.
“Now this year’s budget, we have money allocated for the equipment. So hopefully at the end of this year’s spending, we’ll have a fully equipped ship, ”the Minister said.
Furthermore, he said the Ministry of Agriculture and its Department of Fisheries are still looking for a qualified workforce for the ship. In that regard, he explained that the Ministry, along with advertised vacancies, is also seeking to recruit former coast guards.
“I hope we can work together with the Coastguard and other agencies so that they can help point us in the right direction to get skilled people to manage this ship,” he said.
Mustapha, meanwhile, said the ship will assist in monitoring local marine activities.
“They patrol to check boats and other vessels in the country to see if anglers and fishermen are properly equipped and they practice safe regulation and they abide by all rules and regulations governing the fishing industry, ”he explained.
He added that the ship, the first of its kind, will also be used to ensure that international shipping abides by Guyana’s rules and sovereignty.
“This is very important to bring this ship into operation as it will help us first of all to patrol our unique economic zone. It will help patrol the sea and other areas to curb piracy which is a major issue in the fishing industry, ”explained Mustapha.
In addition, the Minister noted that the monitoring vessel will operate concurrently with Coastguard vessels in Guyana’s unique economic zone.
The ship was commissioned on June 30, 2020, by the then Minister of Agriculture Noel Holder and was named after the Cavalli (Caranx hippos), an abundant species of fish distributed across the tropical and temperate waters of the Atlantic Ocean. (g15)