Sint Maarten – The naval ship Zr.Ms. Groningen, functioning as the West Indian Guard ship of the Royal Netherlands Navy, intercepted a number of go fasts in the past week. The interceptions were executed during a Dutch Caribbean Coast Guard patrol. After detecting the fast-moving vessels, the naval ship proceeded to intercept. A total of 424 kilos of cocaine and a bag of cash money were confiscated. The speed boats were seen jettisoning packages, a thorough search of the area rendered no results. A drowning person has also been brought to safety.
The first intercept took place on the night of July 10, a speedboat, sailing at high speeds, was detected by Zr.Ms. Groningen. The FRISC’s managed to stop the go fast and guide it to the naval ship for inspection. 424 kg of cocaine was found on board of the go fast. The drugs and the persons have been transferred to the law enforcement authorities in St. Maarten by the Metal Sharks.
On July 12 Zr.Ms. Groningen discovered another speedboat when the NH-90 helicopter of the naval ship observed a speedboat in the waters of Caribbean sea, it too was traveling at high speeds. After the suspected speedboat failed to respond to the stop call several times, a sniper from the helicopter used disabling fire to switch off the outboard motor. Unfortunately the crew of the speedboat had already jettisoned the contraband. The FRISC search the area for the contraband and did not encounter the drugs, but found a bag containing a large amount of cash money on the track that the speedboat had sailed. The money and the persons have been transferred to the law enforcement authorities in St. Maarten by the Metal Sharks.
Later that day, the Dash-8, the Dutch Caribbean Coast Guard aircraft, discovered another speedboat. The NH90 helicopter from the Groningen was subsequently sent into the air. The suspect speedboat did not respond to the call to stop, after which a sniper from the helicopter used disabling fire to switch off the outboard motor. During the action it was observed from the air that the crew of the third speedboat also jettisoned their cargo. After a search no drugs were found. The persons of this last case, who were transferred to the police in Sint Maarten were released yesterday due to lack of evidence.
In all three cases there was good collaboration with the Dutch Caribbean Coast Guard substation in Sint Maarten.
Finally, last Sunday the NH90 helicopter saved the life of a person on board of a capsized fishing vessel. The drowning person was taken from the sea and brought to safety. An American coastguard helicopter rescued the remaining three crew members.
The Zr.Ms. Groningen has been active since April 20, 2019 in the Caribbean sea. The West Indian Guard ship is deployed to act during counterdrug operations and render humanitarian assistance. In addition, it is also used for various Dutch Caribbean Coast Guard tasks in the Caribbean seas such as the detection of illegal fishing, environmental crimes and deployment during Search and Rescue cases. Zr.Ms. Groningen is equipped with two FRISCs and an NH-90 helicopter to perform these operations. Zr.Mr. Groningen will continue to patrol for the Dutch Caribbean Coast Guard in the Caribbean sea.