After years of talk, it appears that fishing boats will be equipped with tracking devices that allow authorities to up the fight against piracy.
MARAD Director of Maritime Safety, John Flores
Authorities have announced plans to introduce tracking devices from next year as part of wider plan to tackle piracy on fishing vessels.
For years now, the proposal has been on the table, with fishermen unable to reach agreements with authorities on financing.
According to a government release yesterday, Director of Maritime Safety, Captain John Flores, of the Maritime Administration Department (MARAD), has issued a warning to would-be pirates. He said that the department will be implementing an Automatic Identification System (AIS) to track vessels plying Guyana’s waterways.
According to Flores, in the event of a piracy attack, a distress signal will be sent to any of MARAD’s Maritime Safety Centres, who will provide an exact location to the Coast Guard and Police. This, he noted, will allow for speedier response time.
“I am excited about this new system, because the Police and the Coast Guard will be able to respond faster. As of now, their response is reactive,” he stressed.
According to Flores, the new system which specifically targets fishermen has already been tested and is awaiting approval from the relevant authorities for implementation.
“This new system will roll out in early 2020. It is not mandatory that each vessel equips themselves with the new system. The Automatic Identification System (AIS) will be available countrywide, and we will be working along with the Ministry of Public Telecommunications to make it mandatory in the future, because this is the only way we can effectively tackle piracy and save lives,” Flores stated.
In the interim, he explained that the Safety Centres are using a radio system which employs VHF and HF communication.