Guyana’s capacity to monitor its maritime borders will be significantly bolstered with the arrival of a brand-new patrol vessel.
The 115 Defiant monohull patrol vessel, which was designed and built by United States-based Metal Shark Boats to the tune of US$11.5 million for the Guyana Defence Force (GDF), will join the army’s Coast Guard fleet.
It’s arrival to local shores on Sunday was announced via the Facebook page of several senior government officials including President Dr. Irfaan Ali.
A brief statement from the GDF, subsequently, disclosed that a multi-agency crew was onboard the vessel when it docked at the Coast Guard’s Headquarters in Ruimveldt, Georgetown.

The 115-foot patrol vessel arrived and docked at GDF Coast Guard HQ on Sunday

It included four officers and 12 ranks from the GDF Coast Guard and accompanied by one Officer, two ranks from the Regional Security System (RSS), and four Metal Shark Boats’ personnel.
They were welcomed by the Chief of Defence Staff, Brigadier Omar Khan; Colonel General, Colonel Kenlloyd Roberts; various Branch Heads and Senior Officers within the army, and other members of the Coast Guard. The National Security Advisor, Captain Gerald Gouveia, was also present.
The patrol vessel was designed by Metal Sharks’ in-house engineering team and constructed at the company’s Franklin, Louisiana, production facility.
It now joins the ranks of seven other Metal Shark vessels currently serving in the Coast Guard fleet.

The Metal Shark-built patrol vessel in Guyana’s waters

According to the GDF, ranks from the Coast Guard will have to undergo a period of training before the vessel is formally handed over and commissioned into service.
Brigadier Khan had told Guyana Times during an interview back in February that the acquisition of this vessel was a multi-year project as part of efforts to modernise and expand the army to meet future defence and security needs – a huge area of which is to boost its assets.
The Guyana Government has been heavily invested in boosting the country’s defensive capacity. In fact, a significant portion of the $1.146 trillion Budget 2024, from which the GDF alone received $42.2 billion, has gone towards building the technical capability and assets of the local security sector.
Efforts are already underway to procure four new helicopters that will not only be used by the GDF but also the Guyana Police Force. Back in October 2020, the US State Department had approved the sale of four helicopters and related equipment to Guyana to the tune of US$256 million.
Last November, the Government had approached the National Assembly for additional monies to support the procurement of the patrol vessel for the GDF along with other expenses.
Then in December 2023, eight bids were opened by the National Procurement and Tender Administration Board (NPTAB) for the construction of a new reinforced concrete wharf at the Coast Guard Headquarters at Ruimveldt, Georgetown. The wharf, which is being built to accommodate this and other new vessels being acquired by the GDF, is estimated to cost some $2 billion.
Back in October 2023, Metal Shark Boats said the 115-foot Defiant patrol vessel earmarked for Guyana, dubbed the “GDFS Berbice”, is completed and had departed it Louisiana production facility in the US. The vessel had travelled to the company’s Bayou La Batre shipyard in Alabama, US – from where it left for Guyana’s shore.
Metal Shark’s Chief Executive Officer Chris Allard had said that the vessel will play a key role in helping to protect Guyana’s oil and gas industry.
In August last year, President Dr. Irfaan Ali said that the vessel being procured from Metal Shark, would also help Guyana in patrolling the exclusive economic zone (EEZ) against illegal fishing. He pointed out that Guyana has been losing significant revenue from illegal fishing in its EEZ, a problem that is being dealt with through the modernisation and outfitting of the GDF with a wide range of marine and aviation equipment.
“We’re already in discussions with different stakeholders on a mother ship that would help us in securing our EEZ and ensuring that the commercial value of our EEZ is not exploited without us having a presence there. And that is what the Beechcraft would allow us to do,” the Guyanese Head of State had noted.
The President added, “When outfitted with additional equipment and the Dornier when that comes into the fleet, [it] will help us tremendously to secure our EEZ. We know from information that is being shared with us that we’re losing a lot of revenue with illegal fishing within our EEZ. So, the commercial viability of the investment is one that is also taken into consideration.”
According to the US-based boatbuilder, the vessel can accommodate 24 crewmembers, storage and launch/recovery facilities for a small outboard-powered rigid inflatable boat (RIB), and mounts for automatic weapons.
The aluminium hull features a reverse-raked bow offering reduced resistance for improved seakeeping in higher sea states. There are also multiple watertight bulkheads and oversized scantlings throughout the hull. All integrated tanks and machinery areas are accessible via watertight hatches.
Equipped with twin Caterpillar C32 1,600hp (1,193kW) engines for economical long-range missions, GDFS Berbice boasts a range of 2,000 nautical miles at a cruising speed of 12 knots as well as top speeds in excess of 20 knots. Alternatively, the endurance means the vessel is able to remain out at sea for up to 10 days. Crewmembers will also be able to traverse the vessel, day or night, even in adverse weather conditions, with the added protection of a prominent breakwater.
Facilities aboard the vessel include crews’ quarters, toilets with showers, a galley, and separate mess areas for officers and enlisted sailors. (G8)