SAN JOSE – President Laura Chinchilla inaugurated on Thursday a radar station on Costa Rica’s Pacific coast that will be a tool in the country’s fight against drug trafficking and illegal fishing.
The radar, which has a range of 50 nautical miles, is located in Puerto Caldera.
Chinchilla said that during her four-year term as president, which will conclude on May 8, she has made security a priority, adding that her administration had made “the greatest investments to improve the monitoring and protection of our citizens and our territory by land, sea and air.”
The Puerto Caldera radar is the first one to be installed as part of the National Maritime Control and Monitoring Strategy, a project that includes up to 13 sites where radar units and information analysis equipment will be installed to provide monitoring capability all along the Caribbean and Pacific coasts, as well as on Coco Island in the Pacific, more than 500 kilometers (310 miles) offshore.
The second radar will begin operations in the coming weeks on Coco Island, an environmentally sensitive area where illegal fishing is a major problem.
The radar on the island, the installation of which requires an investment by the government and environmental organizations of $3.6 million, will have the capability to detect boats in a radius of 32 nautical miles and will work together with a specialized identification and tracking system.
Costa Rica, which has not had any armed forces since 1948, has a joint maritime monitoring treaty with the United States.
The Costa Rican coast guard consists of 73 small boats and 10 monitoring stations.