Categorized | National News


A day in the life of The Royal Bahamas Defence Force, is what media officials experienced yesterday, onboard the RBDF’s P45 Vessel, as it conducted its regular patrol.

Lieutenant Commander, Carlon Bethell, took the time to share the hardships and challenges the force faces on a day to day basis. 

One such challenge was  patrolling in the elements, which he said makes it difficult to detect Haitian vessels. 

“Sometimes when the weather gets rough, visibility is less than 10 to  50 feet in front of you. What you can’t see, you can’t intercept,” he said.

“Haitian vessels are made out of wood, they have sails, making them very difficult to be detected by radar. 

“So if the radar isn’t detecting and then you can’t see them, then it means you can’t intercept them,” he added. 

“What makes matter worse, when we’re talking about terrain like this, where the water is shallow, where there’s several hazards to navigation in the form of these rocks, these cays and then underwater reefs, for a Defence Force vessel, that’s a challenge.    

“So you have to be very careful navigating so as not to damage the vessel or run into ground,” Bethell said.

“For a Haitian vessel that’s beautiful, why, because at the end of the day, they’re trying to get to the shallowest area. 

“Once that boat hits the sea bed, they’re not concerned about damaging the vessel.  They’re concerned about hitting that seabed knowing that I’m now in water shallow enough to get out and get to land. 

“So their  strengths are basically our weaknesses,” he said.

Bethell added that although, sometimes the enemy wins, the battle must continue. 

“They’re going to be times when we lose the battle, that’s just the bottom line. 

“We understand the criticism, but there are going to be times the enemy wins, and you lose,” he said.

“But this isn’t just a one-time battle, we’re constantly doing this. I think a lot of people get the impression that when we hear about the Haitian landing, “oh the Defence Force is lost; or they’re not doing their job,” but what they don’t understand is that we’re constantly doing our job.

“We’re constantly patrolling and intercepting outside of the times, that people would see a landing. 

“So when you see a landing, it doesn’t necessarily speak to a failure but it speaks to a time when the enemy won. 

“We just didn’t win that particular battle, but we’re not in a one-time battle, this is a constant challenge, this is a constant work that we do, and we do this every day,” Bethell said. 

While he said he believes the Bahamian public appreciates what they do, many do not understand the differences in challenges when patrolling out to sea compared to patrolling on land. 

However, The Royal Bahamas Defence Force said it will continue to navigate and protect the Bahamian waters against illegal migrants and poachers.  

Written by Jones Bahamas

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