The operational capabilities to protect Honduras’ 220,000 kilometers of maritime border and natural resources have been strengthened as of July 9, 2021, thanks to a U.S. donation of coast guard patrol boat “Río Aguán” FNH-8502.
“This is a special day that translates into the commitment of soldiers and the daily missions they fulfill, so that the Secretariat of Defense can always be ready and available to execute the entrusted mission in the assigned areas, respecting our laws and regulations,” said General (R) Fredy Santiago Díaz Zelaya, Honduran secretary of National Defense.
He added that receiving this vessel helps strengthen the fight to protect common goals, and said, “I want to communicate that the Honduran Armed Forces’ daily training is focused on the tasks they carry out by air, land, or sea.”
For his part, U.S. Military Defense Attaché Christopher Pateras said, “We are happy to collaborate with institutions such as the [Honduran] Secretariat of National Defense and to respond to the country’s security and sovereign needs; we look forward to continuing this joint work for the benefit of Hondurans.”
In addition, he said that “the coast guard patrol boat ‘Río Aguán’ has a 10-person crew capacity and advanced radar technology, communication, and engines, and will also increase and strengthen the capacity of the Honduran naval fleet and of the Honduran Armed Forces in the fight against narcotrafficking and other threats.”
General Tito Livio Moreno Coello, head of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said that “our history of support from our U.S. brothers dates back a long time, not only in the delivery of equipment, but also in academic, cultural, and other exchanges that strengthen these sincere bonds of friendship and brotherhood.”
Similarly, Rear Admiral José Jorge Fortín, commander of the Honduran Naval Force (FNH, in Spanish), said, “The fact that a government and partner armed forces are donating a vessel and equipment to the FNH to fight against narcotrafficking and other crimes means a strong commitment from our highest authorities, and that we are doing the right things and are on the right track.”
In addition, he said that “with this donation, there will be more missions with maritime patrols in our area of responsibility in the Caribbean Sea, [including] surveillance, maritime interdiction against smuggling, narcotrafficking, and other illegal activities, as well as search and rescue, personnel transportation, and support to other State institutions.”
With this vessel, the FNH will also exercise better and greater control of fishing and environmental monitoring, support the national fishing fleet, and participate in joint naval operations and multinational exercises.
This donation project came to fruition with support from the Secretariat of National Defense, the Joint Chiefs of Staff, the FNH, the U.S. Embassy, U.S. Southern Command, and the U.S. Security Cooperation Office.