ABDF COAST GUARD HISTORY
Initially known as Antigua and Barbuda Police Marine Unit, the unit was later transferred to the Antigua and Barbuda Defence Force 1 May 1995 and renamed ABDF Coast Guard.
MOTTO “Answering Duty’s Call”
Units Formation (ORBAT)
The ABDF Coast Guard is a very dynamic Unit. The roles and functions of the Unit have labeled the unit as the most operational in the force. Therefore, the composition if the unit has been developed in such a way to facilitate and ensure that the Unit effectively fulfill its missions.
The ABDF Coast Guard comprises of the six (6) departments:Operations Department: This department manages the Boat Crews and the Coast Guard’s Operations Center. The crews are comprised of both small boat and cutter size vessels that operate within the maritime zones of Antigua and Barbuda. However, there are occasions when Cutters have to be deployed overseas in support of the Regional Security System (RSS) missions and CARICOM by extension. In support of Coast Guard’s assets when they are at sea if the Unit’s operations center that manned on a 24/7 basis where is also keep watch on various maritime related emergency channels.
Administration Department: The management of the Unit’s Registry, Stores and catering are the main responsibilities of this department. The department is responsible for the management of outgoing and incoming correspondences which entail logging, disseminating, and filing communiqué in accordance with acceptable Force and Unit standards. Its responsibilities also involve procurement and other logistic requirement pertaining to the Unit. Further, the Administrative Department is responsible for providing the Coast Guard with three square meals on a daily basis.
Engineering Department: This department is the technical arm of the unit. It is primarily comprised of individuals who are trained in diesel and outboard engines engineering. As a result of the smallness of the Unit, the Coast Guard has found it necessary to cross train its personnel in other technical areas such as welding, electrical, air conditioning and refrigeration, and shipwright. As a result, the department is adequately equipped to maintain the Coast Guard’s vessels through a stringent maintenance programme.
Training: The Training Department is charged with the responsibility of ensuring that Coast Guard personnel are adequately trained and prepared for the duties that they are expected to perform. As a result, the department on an annual basis process individuals to attend various courses that are sourced locally, regionally and internationally. It also hosts a number of in-house training initiatives on a regular basis to maintain currency of individuals in their respective skill sets.
Regulating Department: The Regulating Department is the Coast Guard’s hub for the maintenance of discipline and professionalism at the highest level in accordance with the Commanding Officer’s intent. This department is also responsible for the security of bases and the promulgation of duties and other daily orders.
Reserves: The Coast Guard Reserves are instrumental in supporting the Coast Guard from time to time especially during the periods when the Unit’s operational demand is high. As such, the Reserves are broken down into both seagoing and non-seagoing elements to the Coast Guard to be optimally efficient in the execution of its missions.
Roles and functions: Section 213 of the Antigua and Barbuda Defence Act, 2006, establishes the ABDF Coast Guard’s responsibilities as follow:
Maritime Law Enforcement
Preventing Human smuggling and trafficking
Preventing the smuggling of goods
Maritime Safety and security
Maritime Search and Rescue
Oil Pollution Response
Safety inspection of vessels
Flag and Port state Control
Defence Readiness and Naval Duties
Nation Building and humanitarian assistance
the ABDF Coast Guard has three (3) Facilities.
ABDF Coast Guard Base that is located at Deepwater Harbour is the Coast Guard’s main facility. It houses the Unit’s Headquarters and provides accommodation for a significant number of Coast Guard personnel. The Boathouse accommodated the Coast Guard’s engineering department where they operate a workshop where all major vessel repairs are carried out.
Coast Guard Station English Harbour is located on the South Coast at English Harbour and it is strategically located to provide much needed coverage to the South Course particularly as it relates to safety and security to the yachting sector and other users of the sea operating in that area.