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Shark Boats in Hot Pursuit

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Nautical law enforcement professionals in the Caribbean now have new tools to fight illegal activities such as piracy, drug running and immigrant smuggling at sea. That is, vessels built by Jeanerette, Louisiana-based Metal Shark Boats that can intercept vessels at higher speeds and greater range without sacrificing crew safety. Crafts such as these are already in use by the U.S. Coast Guard in Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands, the Puerto Rico Police Department (PRPD) and by the Dutch Caribbean Coast Guard (DCCG).

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“We have significantly expanded our international footprint over the past five years by adding multiple new law enforcement and military customers in the Caribbean and Latin America,” explains Josh Stickles, vice president of marketing. “The Caribbean specifically has some challenging sea conditions and our hull designs are the perfect platform.”

Metal Shark worked at great length with the PRPD and the DCCG to identify lessons learned from their previous purchases and implement those desired improvements. As a result, these new vessels feature evolutionary enhancements throughout.

Piracy in the Caribbean and Southeast Asia

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For example, the 36ft Fearless patrol boats built for the PRPD are unique in that they utilize a high-performance ventilated stepped-bottom running surface, actually the same Michael Peters-designed SVVT (stepped ventilated vee tunnel) design used on some of the high-end recreational high performance fiberglass boats. However, these boats are built to military-grade standard using welded 5086 aluminum alloy, so they’re far more durable than a comparable fiberglass boat meaning that they can take a pounding that might destroy a comparable fiberglass craft. Also, of key importance to the PRPD, says Stickles, Metal Shark worked closely with officers to assure commonality, wherever possible, with their existing fleet. This allowed the PRPD to immediately deploy these vessels as crews were already familiar with electronics and other key systems.

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Metal Shark 36 Fearless built for the Puerto Rico Police Department
Metal Shark 36 Fearless built for the Puerto Rico Police Department

Stickles says that the DCCG boats utilize the company’s 38ft Defiant platform. This is an all-weather pilothouse vessel that is popular with U.S. and foreign militaries and in service across the Americas, Africa and Asia. It is ideal for the DCCG’s area of responsibility due to its deep hull, exceptional sea keeping, and its ‘pillarless glass’ pilothouse which substantially enhances visibility over conventional pilothouse vessels with smaller, framed windows. The 38 Defiant boasts a very crew-friendly arrangement, which the company optimized to meet the specific needs of the DCCG.

“Having more boats in the Caribbean provides added opportunities for neighboring law enforcement agencies to see and experience our vessels in action, especially given the amount of multinational and multi-agency cooperation in the region,” says Stickles.

In addition to building custom boats for military, law enforcement and commercial customers, Metal Shark also manufactures boats for recreational users. From bay boats and high-end offshore fishing machines to custom versions of its military platforms, the company routinely works with individuals to produce one-of-a-kind boats with built-in durability that only a welded aluminum boat can provide.

For more information, visit: www.metalsharkboats.com

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Gary Brown
Gary Brownhttp://garyebrown.net
Gary E. Brown is the Editorial Director of All At Sea Caribbean. He is a presenter on Island 92, 91.9 FM, St. Maarten, and the author of the thriller/sailing adventure Caribbean High. For more information, visit: garyebrown.net

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