Reynell Fraser, Commissioner of the Royal Virgin Islands Police Force (RVIPF) was a keynote speaker at today’s event, along with Myron Walwyn, Chairman of the BVI Tourist Board; Abigail O’Neal, Marine Marketing Manager - BVI Tourist Board; Tony Smith, Community Relations and Crime Prevention Unit, Royal Virgin Islands Police Force; and Selectamark’s managing director, Andrew Knights.
Other speakers included Sam Welch, President of The Marine Association; and Mark Sanders, Base Manager of TMM. Representatives from The Charter Yacht Society and Crime Stoppers BVI were in attendance.
Commissioner Fraser fully endorsed the scheme and explained that the initiative will overtly mark valuable equipment items on the vessels using Selectamark's permanent property marking etching kits. He said: "Marine equipment will no longer be as valuable to the criminal as it will bear permanent markings which can be easily spotted by any law enforcement officer. It is virtually impossible to remove the markings and any attempt would seriously deface and devalue the items for resale."
The Marine Police and other Police Officers will have access to dual purpose torches with a UV capability and portable microscopes which will be able to identify the true ownership and origin of any marine craft or equipment by checking the details on a secure database of all marked vessels.
Inspector Patrick Harewood, the Head of the Force Crime Prevention Unit, added: "The markings will relate directly to the HIN (Hull Identification Number) which is unique to the individual vessel. The dinghies and outboard motors will be marked together with RFID (Radio Frequency IDentification) transponder tags. These can be read externally using RFID data readers, again identifying the dinghy or motor as belonging to an individual boat or charter yard in the BVI. We are confident that this will be a major deterrent to marine theft."
The Selectamark marine marking kit that has been developed to address the issues raised by the RVI Police Force and other interested parties is one of the most sophisticated available on the market.
Selectamark’s Managing Director, Andrew Knights, said: "Not only does it incorporate Selectamark’s visible marking system, unique microdots that contain details of the vessel’s hull number and hidden RFID chips, but all of this is then registered on Selectamark’s LPS 1224 database. Police are then able to access this database to allow them to check on a suspected stolen vessel or piece of marine equipment at any time of the day or night."
Local insurance agency Caribbean Insurers Limited has helped to sponsor some of the hardware required for the initiative and will be recommending the Marine Marking Initiative to their client base with an incentive that they will look at reducing the insurance excess on the policies of hundreds of private yacht/boat owning clients as a result.
Sian Evans, Head of the Governor’s Office, said: "The British Virgin Islands is one of the world's major yachting centres and it is imperative that we do all we can to tackle marine theft and crime. This launch is a welcome and timely development and our thanks to the Royal Virgin Islands Police Force, TMM and Selectamark for trialing the marine kits here in BVI. We look forward to receiving positive results from this trial."
For further information and images contact: Angela Singleton, Press Officer for Selectamark.
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