Celebrating the MACC 3rd Anniversary – 2nd DISTRICT JDF COAST GUARD

Contributor(s):   Sub Lieutenant Jodi-Ann Hetridge

Subject:    “So Others May Live” – From Sea to Shore

Shortly after the Maritime, Air and Cyber Command (MACC) welcomed its second naval Unit, the Second District Jamaica Defence Force (JDF) Coast Guard, the Unit delivered on its mission by delivering an immediate operational success.  The Second District JDF Coast Guard (2ND Dist JDF CG) accomplished its first major drug interdiction only one week after becoming operational, seizing over two thousand (2000) pounds of cocaine off the island’s south coast.  This was vindication of the concept which drove the creation of the 2nd Dist JDF CG as the MACC sought to meet the Force’s intent to expand the JDF’s security presence in Jamaica’s maritime space.  Jamaica’s strategic placement in the Caribbean region requires heightened attention to maritime activities as over ninety percent (90%) of trade is conducted via the sea.  With the Blue Economy poised to drive economic growth and expansion, it also creates opportunities for persons to operate illicit trades.  Given that the government’s Vision 2030 objectives includes  sustainable management and use of marine resources, the onus is upon the JDF Coast Guard to ensure safe waters for local, regional and international interests.  The 2nd Dist JDF CG, its outstations and Offshore Patrol Vessels (OPVs) will play a vital role in doing just that.

As a tactical measure to thwart transnational criminal networks, the Unit’s OPVs,                               HMJS SAMUEL SHARPE and HMJS ALEXANDER BUSTAMANTE, work in tandem with the Inshore Patrol Vessels (IPVs) to conduct several types of intelligence driven patrols along Jamaica’s coastlines.  This effort by the 2nd Dist JDF CG aims to eliminate drug the flow of illicit drugs, guns and ammunition and to prevent human trafficking, illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing and the plethora of other illegal activities carried out in our waters.  This prevention directly links to the safeguarding of our waters as an invaluable national resource.  To understand the magnitude of this important role, one must consider that sixty-one percent (61%) of Jamaicans reside within five (5) kilometers of the coastline, with all parishes having a coastline and ten (10) having coastal capital towns. Much of our economic activity is generated comes from coastal tourism, commercial fishing, shipping and other related maritime industries.  Having a maritime space which far exceeds our land size, the valuable resource of the sea must therefore be controlled and protected. 

Routine patrols along the coast not only stem illicit flows and prevent negative impact on the country’s sustainable development, but they allow for local fisher folk to sustain their livelihood.  Through the work of the Second District, under the Exclusive Economic Zone Act and the Fishing Industry Act, coastal surveillance mitigates poaching, protects the island’s fisheries and curbs overfishing in Jamaican waters.  The high operational tempo demands constant vigilance and in order to meet this requirement, the still-growing Unit manages its manpower through weekly rotations across the Unit’s outstations. 

The two (2) OPVs charged to the Unit make it possible for a wider reach in border protection efforts.  HMJS SAMUEL SHARPE, like her name suggests, sets out to detect, deter and interdict threat forces in our territorial waters.  Similarly, with the legacy of Sir Alexander BUSTAMANTE being the first Prime Minister of Jamaica after gaining independence, it is only fitting for the new Unit to continue to honour his legacy as her crew leads the way to protect the country’s maritime space as an independent Unit.  Adding the 2nd District to the MACC complement establishes a stronger presence in the busy maritime space, ensures safety for local fisher folk, and clamps down on illegal activities, helping to make Jamaica the place of choice to live, work, raise families and do business.  The developing Unit takes its motto, “In Omnia Paratus” seriously as its seafarers keep vigil ‘so that others may live’.