By FARRAH JOHNSON
THE Royal Bahamas Defence Force has launched a Board of Inquiry to assess the circumstances surrounding the recent groundings of two of their vessels.
In a press statement, the RBDF said the grounding of the HMBS Rolly Gray on July 13 marked the “second unfortunate incident in recent times” which has led the agency to launch an official investigation to “determine the events” surrounding both incidents.
“The Royal Bahamas Defence Force wishes to reassure the general public that those placed in command positions are highly trained naval officers who have graduated from international training academies and colleges with high performance standards,” the statement continued.
“The Royal Bahamas Defence Force has taken measures to strengthen the assessment, selection and professional development of our officers to ensure that such incidents are minimised in the immediate and future.”
According to the RBDF, some of the measures include the reinstatement of their prospective craft command qualifying courses; bridge resource management simulation training for all ship crews; onboard assessments of the crew conduct and competency and coordination levels by their mobile sea training team.
RBDF officers will also participate in incident analysis workshops of previous mistakes to help identify “instances of human error and corrective measures” to avoid future occurrences.
The statement concluded: “Service members have been encouraged by the commander (of the) defence force, Commodore Raymond King to embrace the concept of continuous improvement, training and professional development as the Royal Bahamas Defence Force transforms itself marked by the pursuit of performance excellence.”
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.