Willemstad- In recent weeks, the Coast Guard, with Defense assistance in the Caribbean, has intensified surveillance of the Leeward Islands’ waters and coastlines.
According to the Coast Guard, this intensification is the result of the corona crisis that is gripping the world and the islands. Due to the crisis, all maritime borders of the islands are closed to non-regular shipping. Only freight traffic is allowed to sail in the territorial waters of the islands. Local licensed fishermen have also been granted an exemption to fish in territorial waters because they have a vital function.
The coastal surveillance focuses in particular on maritime transport of goods and people that is illegally trying to reach the islands and in addition to a criminal risk, it also poses a COVID-19 risk to our islands. The successful collaboration is paying off as there have been no illegal ones in recent weeks transports have been observed.
Under Coast Guard flag
The Coast Guard says they will continue to monitor the maritime borders and coasts in the coming period and intensification with the assistance of Defense. Navy ships Zr.Ms Zeeland and Zr.Ms. Karel Doorman are deployed under the flag of the Coast Guard for the mentioned surveillance purposes. The Zr.Ms. Doorman is however also used for transport throughout the Caribbean region.
The Coast Guard calls on all citizens who observe suspicious situations at sea and along the coastlines to call the emergency number 913. Vessels at sea can contact the Rescue and Coordination Center of the Coastguard via VHF channel 16 to observe suspicious and / or dangerous situations.
The Coast Guard states that cooperation from residents is important to keep the sea and the coastlines of the islands safe during the corona crisis.