Over the next four months, the army flagship GDFS Essequibo will have major repairs done to its main and auxiliary engines by a Brazilian naval engineering firm.
Army Chief of Staff, Commodore Gary Best and MAUNTEST Director Luis De Carvalho e Silva inked the $130M contract yesterday which is being funded by the Guyana Government.
Best told reporters that the firm is collaborating with the
coastguard engineers and so the repairs will be done in Guyana. He explained that while the army did not need to go to open tender to select the company to do the repairs, a number of overseas companies were contacted.
The GDFS Essequibo was purchased in the United Kingdom and so that was the army’s first area of contact. However that country had stopped the manufacture of such ships many years ago and so a firm to take on the repairs was not available. Efforts were also made further afield but the Brazilian firm seemed to be the best bet since it also owned ships of the same make. Best said this is why he was confident that the company would be able to do the overhaul.
Following the repairs the ship’s engine will have about five more years, with about 18,000 working hours. The repaired vessel will enhance maritime security and will help the army maintain maritime integrity with Guyana’s neighbours. While the vessel is being repaired, the GDF will continue its
onshore monitoring of the borders and will bridge the gap by using aircraft for border surveillance.
MAUNTEST has the backing of Brazilian Ambassador Arthur Meyer who was on hand for yesterday’s signing and during brief remarks he alluded to increased co-operation between the two countries in the area of defence. He noted that the company had a lot of experience in naval engineering and added that he saw the signing of the agreement as another example of furthering co-operation in defence-related matters.
Meyer also said he was looking forward to improved relations between the two armies, particularly in the areas of exchange of information and training of staff. He said this would be strengthened further when the two countries sign a Defence Co-operation Agreement later this year.
In the area of co-operation too, he mentioned the official opening of the Takutu Bridge which is to take place shortly.
He said a definite date is awaiting a convenient time so that both heads could officiate at the ceremony.
Meyer said he was told by Foreign Affairs Minister Carolyn Rodrigues that final preparations are being made on her side to allow for the opening of the bridge in the near future.