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New Patrol Craft for Customs 8 November 2003

Isle of Man Customs and Excise has announced the enhancement of their maritime capability in the Irish Sea.

The Islandís service will take over the UKís regional vessel PANTHER, currently operated in Scotland. The vesselís former role in the UK is now being taken over by larger patrol craft from HM Customs and Excise.

The new boat is the replacement for IOM Customs and Exciseís current vessel ďBlue RangerĒ. Panther will allow for better all weather operating capability, greater endurance and range and with the benefit of sophisticated detection aids will enable IOM Customs and Excise to better protect the seas around the Islandís shores.

The vesselís primary role is to protect the Islandís waters however, like Blue Ranger before, it will be available to assist all law enforcement agencies in the Irish Sea and provide support to the UK Customs and Excise in operational matters. The vessel will provide an enhancement of the Chief Ministerís Drug Strategy allowing the Isle of Man to play a fuller role in combating maritime smuggling to the island and neighbouring countries.

Panther is a fifteen metre decked vessel with a range of over 300 miles. It provides basic accommodation for four officers and allows for extended periods of deployment. The vessel has twin engines and propellers and is fitted with up to date navigational and technological aids. While capable of being deployed far out to sea the vesselís shallow draft allows for close inshore work. Making it an extremely adaptable and versatile asset for the Islandís law enforcement and protection.

Denis Maxwell, Collector of Isle of Man Customs said

"IOM Customs has for the last 6 years been developing its maritime activity. This not only assists in protecting our people, but deters the use of our waters for illegal activities. The arrival of Panther will greatly enhance this effort and together with other initiatives and activities will help reduce the harm drugs do to individuals and societyĒ.

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