By LEANDRA ROLLE
Tribune Staff Reporter
THE Royal Bahamas Defence Force has launched an investigation after one of its vessels was damaged on its way to Marsh Harbour, Abaco on Friday morning.
This comes after a local tabloid reported that HMBS Nassau allegedly hit “a sandbank in low tide” outside the entrance to the harbour.
As a result of the crash, the tabloid claimed that repairs to the boat could potentially cause “hundreds of thousands of dollars.”
However, in a press statement released yesterday, RBDF officials did not say what caused the incident nor did the agency reveal the cost of repairs, only saying an investigation has been launched into the matter.
The RBDF also said while the vessel sustained minimal damage to one of its propellers, no one was hurt during the incident.
“The Royal Bahamas Defence Force’s Bahama Class vessel HMBS Nassau, sustained minor damage to its port propeller while transiting the channel inbound to the pier in Marsh Harbour, Abaco on Friday morning,” the RBDF said.
“None of the crew members were injured in that incident. As per RBDF protocols, divers were deployed once alongside the pier to determine the extent of damage.”
The statement continued: “HMBS Nassau had undertaken corrective action in response to environmental forces during its final approach to the pier while conducting detachment replenishment mission to that island.
“The mission was completed and HMBS Nassau safely and comfortably returned to Coral Harbour Base where further investigations are underway to determine the extent of damage, cost of repairs and cause of incident.”
In April 2018, a clip went viral of Prime Minister Dr Hubert Minnis admonishing then Royal Bahamas Defence Force Commodore Tellis Bethel about marines “mashing up” defence force vessels, adding that officers must “learn to navigate”.
Dr Minnis’ comment came after a set of propellers on HMBS Rolly Gray was damaged that month after the boat departed Coral Harbour, the third time such an incident had taken place in a six month timeframe. At the time, Commodore Bethel, through information provided to Press Secretary Anthony Newbold, said the commanding officers of two vessels involved in recent incidents have been reassigned.
It was also revealed in April 2018 that the cost of repairing HMBS Arthur Dion Hanna which sustained damage to its port shaft and gear box in November 2017, was $1.5m.