Belize Coast Guard

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Belize Coast Guard
Belize Coast Guard insignia.png
Seal of the Belize Coast Guard
Belize Coast Guard Flag.png
Belize Coast Guard Flag
MottoUtrinque Paratus Ready for Anything
Founded28 November 2005; 14 years ago (28 November 2005)
Current formCoast Guard
Service branches
Headquarters4.5 Miles George Price Highway Belize City, Belize
Websitebcg.gov.bz
Leadership
Commander-in-ChiefSir. Colville Young
Minister of National SecurityHon. Michael Peyrefitte
Chief of Defence StaffRear Admiral John Borland
Manpower
Military age18-23 years
ConscriptionLaws allow for conscription only if volunteers are insufficient.
Available for
military service
121,249, age 18-49 years (2007)
Fit for
military service
87,871, age 18-49 years (2007)
Reaching military
age annually
6,313 (2007)
Active personnel630 (2019 approx)
Expenditures
Budget$US 15,000,000
Industry
Foreign suppliers

The BCG was stood up in 2005 to provide Belize with a military force with law enforcement powers at sea. The new service began operations with seven impounded Eduardoño fast craft and 50 men drawn from the disbanded BDF Maritime Wing. [1] The Belize Coast Guard Service was originally established as a part of Belize Defence Force established in November 2005 with the assistance of the United States Coast Guard. It became an independent branch of the Belizean Armed Forces in November 2005. [2] Commandant of the Belize Coast Guard is Captain Elton Bennett.[3]

Missions[edit]

Coast Guard men and women are deployed around the clock patrolling the internal waters and territorial seas. On the northern frontier, their joint operating base at Consejo protects the local economy from the negative impacts of illegal contraband and acts as the northern cut off for drug trafficking. On their southern boundary they stand guard at the Sarstoon river ensuring sovereignty and territorial integrity of Belize. They stand ready for anything (Utrinque Paratus ). [4]

The Belize Coast Guard mission includes:

  • Maritime safety
  • Maritime security
  • Marine Conservation
  • Maintaining sovereignty of Belize sea space
  • Naval defence of Belize [5]

Like other naval forces in the region, the BCG mostly confronts crime at sea. “What occupies most of their time is really the transnational organised crime in the form of drug trafficking and weapon smuggling. The BCG also works to prevent illegal fishing and other illicit activity affecting the Belizean maritime ecosystem, supporting the Belize [6]

The Coast Guard Service coordinates its activities with the Belize Defence Force and the Belize Police Department.[7]

Symbol[edit]

Core Values[edit]

The Belize Coast Guard strategic vision is to create an apex institution highly professional, motivated, trained and resourced, capable of enforcing maritime laws and projecting sea power to the limits of our sea spaces and support maritime operations locally and regionally. Our core values are “COURAGE, COMMITMENT & RESPECT”:

Courage:Our integrity is built on our character to do what is right in the face of compromise. To confront fear,pain,risk or uncertainty and to face danger, hardship or death. we are loyal to our leader and will defend our cause.
Commitment: We are a professional military who seek responsibility, accept responsibility, and are committed to the successful achievement of our organizational goals. We serve that others may live. We serve with pride.
Respect: Respect but not fear for adversity. Respect for self and others, treating all with fairness, dignity, and compassion. We foster individual opportunity and growth. We encourage creativity and innovation through education. We work as a team.

— Coast Guard Core Values [8]

Belize Coast Guard Ethos[edit]

I am Belize's maritime guardian
I serve the citizens of Belize
I will protect them
I will defend them
I am their shield
For them I am Untrinque Paratus
I live the Coast Guard Core Values
I am a guardian
We are the Belize Coast Guard

— Belize Coast Guard Giardian Ethos

Belize Coast Guard SEALs[edit]

A selection and training course run by US Navy SEAL personnel saw eight BCG personnel graduate as Belizean SEALs, becoming the founding members of the unit. By 2014 CSOG was deploying in the field, gathering intelligence and carrying out offensive operations that led to a gradual drop in crime in northern Ambergris Caye. Since then more personnel have been trained and the unit has grown. Armed with M4A1 rifles, FN M249 Squad Automatic Weapons, M240 machine guns, and Remington Model 700 sniper rifles, CSOG operatives are as proficient in maritime operations as they are in land deployments such as long-range reconnaissance and close-quarter combat.[9]

Belizean SEALs at the third annual military parade

Belize Coast Guard SEALs Motto[edit]

The Belize Coast Guard SEALs motto is: "Cede Nulis - Yield To None"

Organization[edit]

The force has its Headquarters (HQ) on the outskirts of Belize City where storage and maintenance facilities for its boats are also found. Coming under the HQ are the CSOG, the fleet command also known as First Fleet, and the service and support group, which includes the training company handling recruit training, stores, and equipment supplies, as well as the maintenance component of the BCG.

The First Fleet includes an HQ and is broken down into northern, central, and southern sectors, each comprising three 30-man platoons. These are made up of boat teams and boarding teams, with each sector providing them with a pool of two Justice 370s and four other craft for operations. One platoon is usually on operation, with another training and the third on leave.

Each sector is responsible for the operation of several forward operating bases: six being coastguard stations, while seven are joint facilities where the BCG works alongside the BDF (Belize Defence Force), the Belize Fisheries Department, customs officials, and NGOs. Directly under the First Fleet commandant is the Strike Team: an eight-man special operations unit specialising in maritime interdiction, counter-narcotics missions, and amphibious operations. Stood up in 2016, it is now slated for amalgamation into the CSOG to consolidate all BCG special operations assets within a single unit. A platoon-sized force, CSOG was formed in 2013 to respond to the degrading security situation in the north of the island of Ambergris Caye. “Different gangs would clash over drugs washed ashore. People would be found in shallow graves. They would harass the locals with home invasions, steal their boats, and sell them in Mexico. [10]

Personnel[edit]

As of November 2019, the Coast Guard service has a strength of 600 men and women, referred to as "guardsmen."

The men and women of the Coast Guard is a true representation of the Nation of Belize from every district, a broad representation of ethnicity, bridging the gender gap; and they share one thing in common—the love for their country and the desire to serve.

As the Coast Guard broadens its scope it is evident that the there is a need to increase its strength. In November of 2019 they graduated the largest class since existence. Eighty five recruits joined their ranks. This is a demonstration of government’s commitment to the Belize Coast Guard. In addition to personnel administration, one hundred and six persons were promoted across the ranks. This is a steady progression and capacity building in the right direction.

Their international partners also play a crucial role in supporting the Belize Coast Guard. Their professional military education and training is a result of the international relationship that remains strong through 2020. The United States of America, Mexico, the United Kingdom, Canada and Taiwan, at the Multi National Security Conference in September of 2019 have all committed to continue to support the Belize Coast Guard. In that regard, one hundred and six (or 20%) Coast Guard personnel has been overseas for training and exercises in 2019. The exposure gained and expertise developed over the past year is one of the main reason for their high level professionalism that the nation has come to respect. This international relationship saw the successful completion of the 4 year long commitment from the US Marine to support the development of the Coast Guard Marines. That program matured in September of 2019, and they are now prepared to continue developing Coast Guard Marines. [11]

Commandant of the Belize Coast Guard is Captain Elton Bennett.[12]

Ranks[edit]

Commissioned Officers[edit]

Equivalent
NATO code
OF-10 OF-9 OF-8 OF-7 OF-6 OF-5 OF-4 OF-3 OF-2 OF-1 OF(D) and student officer
Belize Belize
(Edit)
No equivalent
US-O8 insignia.svg US-O7 insignia.svg US-O5 insignia.svg US-O4 insignia.svg US-O3 insignia.svg US-O2 insignia.svg US-O1 insignia.svg
Belize Coast Guard OF-7.svg Belize Coast Guard OF-6.svg Belize Coast Guard OF-5.svg Belize Coast Guard OF-4.svg Belize Coast Guard OF-3.svg Belize Coast Guard OF-2.svg Belize Coast Guard OF-1b.svg Belize Coast Guard OF-1a.svg
Rear admiral Rear admiral (lower half) Captain Commander Lieutenant commander Lieutenant Lieutenant (junior grade) Ensign Officer cadet

Enlisted[edit]

Equivalent
NATO code
OR-9 OR-8 OR-7 OR-6 OR-5 OR-4 OR-3 OR-2 OR-1
Belize Belize
(Edit)
Belize CG OR-9.svg Belize CG OR-8.svg Belize CG OR-7.svg Belize CG OR-6.svg Belize CG OR-5.svg Belize CG OR-4.svg Unknown
Master chief petty officer Senior chief petty officer Chief petty officer Petty officer first class Petty officer second class Petty officer third class Seaman Seaman apprentice

Bases[edit]

  • Headquarters

The chief base of the Belize Coast Guard Service is located at mile 4 on the Western Highway. [1]

The new headquarters was built with the assistance from the US southern command. It was formerly located at Ladyville.

  • Calabash Caye

The Forward Operating Base at Calabash Caye was inaugurated on March 17, 2010. It was built at a cost of $3,000.000.00. [2]. Boats are stationed at Caye Caulker and San Pedro under the operational control of Ladyville.[13]

  • San Pedro

On Friday, November 29, 2013, the Belize Coast Guard (as part of their 8th anniversary celebrations) inaugurated its northern Forward Operating Base on Ambergris Caye and also held the graduation ceremony of its fourth intake.

  • Bacalar Chico

The Belize Coast Guard (BCG) officially opened its new patrol base on Friday, July 26th. The new outlook post in the Bacalar Chico area, a mile and a half away from the Mexican border, will not only serve to patrol the northern coast of the island, but also deter any sort of criminal activities that threaten the safety and economic progress of Ambergris Caye

  • Hunting Caye

Hunting Caye is located at the southern apex of the Belize and northern Honduras/Guatemala maritime border and it provides that forward deployment from where they can project sea power in encountering transnational organized crime.

Equipment[edit]

In 2007, the Coast Guard Service had eight boats in commission. There are no aircraft; for air searches the Coast Guard Service relies on the Belize Defence Force.

The Belize Coast Guard Service received several fast boats from the United States Coast Guard in 2008. These boats have a maximum speed of 60 to 65 miles per hour (100 to 108 km/h).

On April 2010, the Coast Guard received two Boston Whaler Justice 37' patrol boats. Shortly they received an additional "Justice" and two Secure All-around Flotation Equipped (SAFE) boats. [3]

On November 2011, the Coast Guard received two Boston Whaler Outrage Justice Series boats, two SAFE Defender Class boats, two F-550 Ford trucks, and a 40-foot container filled with spare parts. [4][5]

The Belize Coast Guard inaugurated a new facility on December 2, 2013. [6]

On December 2015,the Belize Coast Guard received about eight zodiac floatable vessels, two hundred life vests, an equal number of rain protective gears, and outboard motors. They also received body armors, tactical floatation devices, night vision devices, surveillance cameras and laptop computer equipment which will be used by the coast guard SEALs. [14]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "JANE's Overview Of The Belize Coast Guard".
  2. ^ ""11 Years of Service for the Belize Coast Guard"".
  3. ^ "Belize Coast Guard to get a new commander". The San Pedro Sun. 15 Nov 2019. Retrieved 7 April 2020.
  4. ^ "State Of The Belize Coast Guard 2019".
  5. ^ "JANE's Overview Of The Belize Coast Guard". Belize Coast Guard.
  6. ^ "JANE's Overview Of The Belize Coast Guard". Belize Coast Guard.
  7. ^ "Channel 5, Belize, newscast, Tuesday, July 24, 2007".[permanent dead link]
  8. ^ "About Us". Belize Coast Guard.
  9. ^ "JANE's Overview Of The Belize Coast Guard".
  10. ^ "JANE's Overview Of The Belize Coast Guard".
  11. ^ "State Of The Belize Coast Guard 2019". Belize Coast Guard.
  12. ^ "Belize Coast Guard to get a new commander". The San Pedro Sun. 15 Nov 2019. Retrieved 7 April 2020.
  13. ^ "Love FM, Belize. "Belize Coast Guard Service Enhances Capabilities". July 24, 2007". Archived from the original on 2007-09-28.
  14. ^ "US Embassy donates new equipment to the Belize National Coast Guard". The San Pedro Sun.