Gibraltar’s Chief Minister, Fabian Picardo, officially commissioned HMC Sentinel for duty in British Gibraltar Territorial Waters during a ceremony at Custom House on March 2nd. The vessel was presented by Acting Collector of Customs John Payas, before receiving a blessing from Monsignor Azzopardi in the presence of the Chief Minister and HE the Governor Sir David Steel.
HMC Sentinel is a Damen Interceptor 1503 FRP. The vessel is a custom-built prototype, the first of its kind, and is the result of a 3-year project with extensive co-operation between Damen Shipyards and it’s client, HM Customs. Specific wishes for performance and equipment were incorporated into the design, resulting in an impressively expedient patrol boat.
14.5m in overall length, Interceptor 1503 FRP can carry 5 crew and 10-12 passengers. With a top speed of 62.5 knots powered by 4 Mercury Verado 400 R outboard engines, it is believed to be the fastest vessel in the bay of Gibraltar. She is the largest and most capable vessel ever commissioned into service with HM Customs Gibraltar.
The vessel’s hull and superstructure are composed of e-glass and carbon reinforced epoxy, the interior accommodation features Ullman Atlantic Shock absorber seats, a stretcher and toilet and galley facilities to support long shifts at sea. HMC Sentinel is fitted with the latest in nautical and communication equipment, including fixed and portable searchlights, radar and GPS.
Carlos Gonzalez Martin, Damen Sales Manager for Gibraltar, comments: “This state-of-the-art vessel represents a great collaboration between Damen and Her Majesty’s Customs at Gibraltar. The Interceptor 1503 provides a reliable, top-performing vessel, while at the same time, ensuring a safe and comfortable operation for the crew.”
The Gibraltar Collector of Customs, John Payas, said: ‘I am extremely proud to present HMC Sentinel, which represents a new phase in the development of HM Customs’ maritime operations in terms of capability and operability. Her high speed, enclosed cabin and robustness afford enhanced protection to our officers whilst carrying out their duties in the often volatile and challenging environment that are the British Gibraltar Territorial Waters. Furthermore, her on board amenities allow for greater comfort affording longer patrol times and increased presence.’