RBDF refutes tabloid story about its vessels

Royal Bahamas Defence Force marines are inspected by Commodore, Tellis Bethel at the RBDF base. (Photo credits: RBDF)

NASSAU, BAHAMAS – The Royal Bahamas Defence Force has refuted a front-page article that was printed in a local tabloid on Monday, which claimed that eight of its 11 vessels had broken down.

The RBDF dismissed the article as not only false, but also misleading.

“Reporting of unverified information to the general public as fact is blatantly irresponsible,” said RBDF Commodore Tellis Bethel in a press statement issued on Monday evening.

Commodore Bethel explained that the RBDF has nine Damen-built patrol craft and two Bahama Class vessels that were refitted by Damen in the Netherlands.

Six out of the nine Damen-built vessels, he said, are operational; three are non-operational, with two of them require short-term term maintenance due to normal wear and tear; and the third vessel – the HMBS Dion Hanna – requires long-term repair work due to a grounding.

Commodore Bethel said the cost of repair for this vessel [the HMBS Dion Hanna] was grossly exaggerated and will be covered by insurance.

Short term maintenance work for two of the vessels can take one-three weeks to complete,” Commodore Bethel said. “This includes routine dry docking and generator repair.

“The longer-term work for the third vessel can take up to two months once arrangements are finalized.”

The Commodore said funding for these projects are available in the RBDF’s budget.

The RBDF Commodore further stated that as for the two Bahama Class vessels, they are operational and are having their air-condition systems assessed by Damen at Coral Harbour Base as part of Damen’s refit package.

These systems, he said, are under warranty.

“It was recommended by the RBDF that the contracted service for Damen’s Field Service Engineer be converted from a ‘full time’ to an ‘as required’ basis as all patrol craft were delivered and the RBDF engineers and technicians have acquired necessary experience with new systems,” the Commodore said.

“The renewal of a contractual agreement under the Sandy Bottom project is not necessary. Adequate funding is available in the RBDF budget for payment of fuel for patrol boats.”