Coast Guard Bases
HMJS Cagway, Port Royal
HMJS CAGWAY, located in picturesque and historic town of Port Royal, is the home of the sailors and naval officers in the Jamica Defence Force Coast Guard. On 19 May 1968, approximately two years after being relocated from Princess Street (Downtown), Kingston, the Coast Guard base was formally Commissioned as Her Majesty's Jamaica Ship (HMJS) Cagway.
The name Cagway was given to the westermost end of the Palisadoes Strip by the British. It is a corruption of the Spanish word "Caguaya" which is part of the name "Punta Caguaya" given to the same place by the Spanish.
The base at Port Royal was originally intended as temporary accommodation, but has now become the permanent home of the JDF Coast Guard. In 1984 the size of the base was increased when the Coast Guard took over the building that formerly housed the Police Training School, after the school was transferred to Twickenham Park in St. Catherine.
The location of the base is steeped in military history, not only because it is located in historic Port Royal, but also that the ammunition dump that supplied the Forts that defended the approaches to Kingston Harbour in the days of the wars between the Spanish, English and French is located on the same compound. The remainder of the train line that was used to supply Fort Rocky and Fort Charles can still be seen today.The ammunition dump continues to be used by the JDF.
The buildings that were constructed for the base in the early 70s are made of wood. A new two-storey concrete structure which is to be the Coast Guard Operations Building now dominates the compound. It was built last year as part of the Joint Overseas Training program with the United States Naval Construction Battalion (Seabees) and soldiers from I Engineer Regiment (JDF). The Wardroom is of ancient Spanish brick and there are few other buildings of the same construction which are dated as the history of Port Royal itself.
Station Discovery Bay
Station Discovery Bay was established 01 December 1988 and serves as a central point for launching operations on the north coast of the island. The station is manned by a normal complement of sixteen JDF personnel with a commissioned officer in charge. The crew has one senior non-commissioned officer in charge. The crew has one 12 metre patrol craft and one work boat available and are at 15 minutes notice to move in response to maritime distress signals.
In addition to maritime patrol duties the station is also equipped to undertake diving operations such as search and recovery and hull searches for contraband items. Personnel also provide valuable community service to a variety of civil organisations in the Discovery Bay area.
Station Black River
Station Black River was established on 16 February 2005 and is a significant point of operation for response to maritime issues on the southwest coast of Jamaica. The station is manned by a normal complement of sixteen JDF personnel with a non-commissioned officer in charge. The crew has one work boat available and is at 15 minutes notice to move in response to maritime distress signals.
The station conducts routine patrols in that area and is capable of responding to search and rescue missions. The station is located at Hendrick’s Wharf which is a homeport for several large fishing vessels. This allows the crew to closely monitor their operations and ensure compliance with all applicable laws and regulations.
Station Pedro Cays
Coast Guard Station Pedro Cays was made operational on 29 November 1996. It is manned by sixteen JDF and two Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF) personnel with one 12 metre and one work boat at their disposal. In addition to its normal complement, the base is designed to accommodate fisheries officers and scientists engaged in marine scientific research.
Station Port Antonio
Station Port Antonio was established on 12 September 2002 and is located on the waterfront of the scenic Port Antonio West Harbour. The station shares a building and jetty facility with the Marine Police. The station is responsible for the east coast maritime space. The station is manned by a normal complement of six JDF personnel with a non-commissioned officer in charge. The crew has one fifteen metre patrol craft and one work boat available and is at fifteen minutes notice to move in response to maritime distress signals.
The station conducts routine patrols in that area and is capable of responding to search and rescue missions. Due to its location the station from time to time also responds to illegal migration cases. The crew does a lot of pleasure craft boardings due to the popularity of the harbour to such vessels.