Bermudian newspaper The Royal Gazette reports that a police patrol boat that had been laid up for most of its time in service has been sold to a private owner at a knockdown price of less than US$70,000.
Local firm Crisson Construction is said to be the new owner of the 16-metre Guardian, which was originally acquired from Australia by the Bermuda Police Service for US$1.7 million in 2006 to replace an older, less capable vessel.
In a House of Assembly meeting on Friday, July 12, national security minister Wayne Caines confirmed that Guardian had become too expensive to maintain, requiring an estimated US$100,000 worth of repairs just to make it seaworthy.
The boat had also incurred up to US$24,000 in mooring charges every year and used up around US$1,000 worth of fuel for each day that it was deployed at sea, Mr Caines added.
Apart from having been used on a few anti-drug patrols and serving as a command platform to ensure boaters' safety during local major regattas, Guardian spent much of its time in Bermudian service tied up at berth for maintenance and also due to a lack of trained boat crews.
The vessel had reportedly sailed out of port only one or two days in a month, triggering criticism against the Bermudian government for its alleged purchase of a "white elephant."
The government put Guardian up for sale last December after an assessment showed its market value had dropped to between US$300,000 and US$350,000. Only two offers for the vessel were submitted, with Crisson's bid of US$69,000 being the higher of the two.
Mr Caines remarked that the sale of Guardian was "the only sound financial decision" that has been made when considering the total cost of the vessel's upkeep.
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