The white elephant flagship of the marine police has been sold at a knockdown price, The Royal Gazette can reveal.
The Australian-built patrol boat MV Guardian was bought almost 13 years ago for $1.7 million.
But, after it spent much of its career tied up at Dockyard, the 54-foot search-and-rescue vessel is now in private hands.
It is understood the boat, designed for a crew of four and up to eight passengers, was bought by Crisson Construction for less than $70,000 — a discount of more than $1.6 million on the original cost.
The high-tech vessel, capable of travelling more than 200 miles out to sea, was put up for sale with no reserve price.
It was put on the market in December and a police spokesman said that “the cost of maintaining it outweighs the benefit of retaining it”.
The Guardian was bought by the Bermuda Police Service in 2006 to replace the old Blue Heron.
The boat was berthed in Dockyard, where it required regular maintenance because of its complex electronics.
The Guardian was used for anti-drug patrols and served as a command platform for large events such as the America’s Cup, the Non-Mariners race and major holidays such as Cup Match.
But problems with the boat included high overtime costs for long patrols and inadequate pilot training for police, which kept the boat in dock for long periods.
The Royal Bermuda Regiment is also expected to take over the maritime security role from the police in the near future.
Charles Crisson, the head of Crisson Construction and Crisson & Company Real Estate, declined to comment yesterday and the police did not respond to a question on the sale price of the boat.
The Guardian is part of a class of offshore patrol boats designed for the New South Wales Water Police in Australia.
It was intended to become Bermuda’s main search and rescue and surveillance vessel.
The boat has a range of about 230 miles and high-tech communications equipment, including GPS.
The Blue Heron was only equipped with radar and a radio.
The Guardian suffered technical problems only months after it arrived and the Government said in 2008 that the boat was rarely used.
The Royal Gazette reported at the time that the vessel had been out of port for fewer than two days a month, partly because police officers were not comfortable piloting it due to a lack of training.
The Government came in for more criticism when it was revealed the boat was taken out of the water as Hurricane Bill approached in 2009.
But the police said the boat was never intended to be used during hurricanes.
A police spokesman said last night: “The Bermuda Police Service can confirm that MV Guardian was recently sold through a government tendering process.”