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May 18, 2022

Trade Winds 2022 Maritime Training

Last night we showed a few of the training exercises our Belize Defense Force Soldiers have been engaged in on land and in the air during Trade Winds 2022. Tonight, we take you offshore where the Belize Coast Guard, along with its counterparts from twenty-two countries, has been training for the past two weeks. These seamen have been sharpening their small boat maneuvering and interception skills within the Turneffe Reef Atoll. Today, they conducted a demonstration of some of the skills they acquired of the course of the training. News Five’s Paul Lopez filed the following report.


Paul Lopez, Reporting

Dive Haven Resort, located in the Turneffe Reef Atoll, is the base for the maritime aspect of Trade Wind 2022. Coast guard officers from twenty-two countries have been training within the atoll for the past two weeks.


Roque Canul

Lt. Roque Canul, Servicing Support Group, Belize Coast Guard

“The Trade Winds exercise is a multidimensional exercise. It covers land, air and sea operations. What we are going to see today is what is happening on the maritime side of the overall exercise. So, out there we will be able to see what the guys learned or reviewed in the past few days when it comes to small boat handling or maritime law enforcement.  You will be able to see boat handling of which we are experts of. Those are the capabilities that Belize has, small boats and also the maritime law enforcement side of it where these guys are thought how to board boats, search and conduct that maritime law enforcement part of the exercise.”


A temporary maritime operations center has been established on the fourth floor of the resort. The officers operating the center are tasked with relaying information from the field to their commanding officers.


Allen Armstrong

Lt. Allen Armstrong, Belize Coast Guard

“The Maritime Operations Center, MOC for short, is basically a radio room where we relay information to the CTF, the command task force that is at the Price Barracks. So, any activities that take place on the small boats, that you will get a tour of after this, you guys will then proceed and see how the MOC operates and hear how the MOC operates whereby we relay messages to our higher command from this operations center. Here at the MOC we basically log down every information that is passed on from the small boats to our higher. At everyone time we have three personnel working shifts on a basis of every two hours rotation. So, we usually man this post from eight in the morning until sixteen hundred, which is four in the afternoon.”


Today, several teams of officers were out conducting rehearsals for Thursday’s culmination day exercise. In this mock scenario, the coast guard vessel received intelligence of a vessel carrying suspected narcotics. The coast guard vessel then set chase after the suspected traffickers. They then carried out the established protocols for boarding and searching a vessel.


Dale Guzman

PO Dale Guzman, Belize Coast Guard

“Based on intel, we came out here searching for the two known vessels that were trafficking drugs. Our team boarded the vessel, searched the vessel, and frisked the guys, asked them their nationality, where they were travelling from, and they seem to come up on drugs and weapons on the vessel, so they arrested the guys, detained them, informed them they were taking them to keep them under arrest due to the suspicious drugs they found on the vessel.”


Tyler Morrison

Tyler Morrison, Maritime Enforcement Specialist, U.S. Coast Guard

“For Trade Winds we are out here trying to share best practices. With the ending we have some culminating exercises that kind of give some activities that may not normally be seen by the local law enforcement teams. One of those scenarios is having multiple assets approach multiple targets of interest, conduct a boarding during the routine patrol, and implement best practices to improve their law enforcement training experience.”


Coast Guard engineers are also benefiting from a two-week engineering course that has yielded positive results.


Lt. Roque Canul

“These guys are doing an excellent job. We have some very good instructed who are assisting us with bringing out some engines we had down for a couple of months. But this is the essence of that engineer tract, to have it for these guys to practice on. The beauty of it, they will see what they achieved at the end of Trade Winds. They took an engine that is unserviceable, and within two weeks you have three, six, nine engines, that you can say this is what we achieved. This is what we have as a result of training.”


Trade Wind 2022 officially comes to a close on Friday. Across the country tomorrow, culminating exercises will be held at the various training sites. Reporting for News Five I am Paul Lopez.

Viewers please note: This Internet newscast is a verbatim transcript of our evening television newscast. Where speakers use Kriol, we attempt to faithfully reproduce the quotes using a standard spelling system.

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