Costa Rican lawmakers block U.S. Coast Guard cutter from docking
The USCG Sherman of the United States National Coast Guard on Friday canceled a scheduled arrival in Costa Rica because lawmakers at the Legislative Assembly were unable to discuss and approve the required permit on time.
The Coast Guard vessel is part of a joint patrol program between Central American nations and the U.S. government, and was due to arrive in the country on July 2.
U.S. officials requested the permit three weeks ago, according to a U.S. Embassy press release posted Friday on its website, but lawmakers ended the session without even discussing the petition.
Under Costa Rican law, armed vessels require a permit issued by the Legislative Assembly in order to dock in national ports. U.S. Coast Guard and Navy ships need to dock at ports in the region to replenish fuel, food and to transfer evidence or suspects arrested at sea to local authorities.
Eric Nelson, the U.S. Embassy’s Chargé d’Affaires, lamented the cancellation, as he believes the patrol program “is a vital tool to improve security in the region.”
“We regret that the visit of the USCG Sherman was canceled and we hope that the Legislative Assembly grants the permits soon,” he added.
According to U.S. Embassy data, U.S. ships participating in joint patrols in the Pacific and the Caribbean in the past 18 months have prevented the traffic of some 200 tons of cocaine and 35,000 pounds of marijuana, and 441 suspects have been handed over to local authorities.
You may be interested
Looking back at Hurricane Maria: the initial impactJohn McPhaul - December 12, 2017
As Costa Rica joins many other nations in looking back upon the devastating 2017 hurricane season, longtime Tico Times contributor…
Cold front claims fourth victim in Costa RicaKatherine Stanley - December 12, 2017
High winds claimed the life of a fourth victim in Costa Rica as the cold front that has been moving…
With Keylor Navas battling injuries, Real Madrid eyes January swoop for Bilbao goalieAFP - December 11, 2017
Real Madrid's first foray into the January transfer market will be to snap up Athletic Bilbao's promising goalkeeper Kepa Arrizabalaga,…