H.E. the Governor Andy Pearce confirmed Wednesday that the police vessel Heliconia Start is currently undergoing repairs.
During his coffee meeting with the press, the governor said he had been informed that the vessel, which was commissioned earlier this year was experiencing engine trouble. The boat can be seen docked in Little Bay harbour and has not come to the port in some time.
The problem stemmed from a September 15, 2018 trip on its return from Antigua.
While the governor was unaware if any actions taken by personnel on the vessel led to the damage, he said that the port engine was overheating and cannot be used at full power. Damen, the Dutch ship builders are said to have an engineer on island to look at the problem.
Governor Pearce added that the vessel can still be used in case of emergency but this would be limited as it could not travel long distances for open sea rescue on only one engine at 100%.
He said although the orange rigid inflatable boat (RIB), which the island was using for marine support until the Heliconia Star arrived, was to be sent to the Cayman Islands, it is still on island and can be called up if needs be. The governor said at some stage the new police vessel would need to go down for maintenance and he thought it best for the island to have the RIB to fill in and maintain security.
The Heliconia Star was commissioned on June 1, after a long process to acquire the vessel through the Governor’s Office. The Royal Montserrat Police Service (RMPS) trained more than 12 officers to properly man the boat which requires a minimum crew of four at all times. Additional personnel were hired in from other CARICOM countries to ensure that the vessel had engineers and captains who were certified up to the standards to maintain it’s insurance and sea worthiness.