BVI Launches ‘Operation Island Watch’ to Encourage Reporting of Suspicious Marine Activity
The British Virgin Islands (BVI) has launched Operation Island Watch, a new initiative that allows people to anonymously report suspicious activities at sea. The initiative targets the boating community and is funded by the Marine Association of the BVI.
Inspector Lesroy Simmons of the Royal Virgin Islands Police Force (RVIPF) Marine Branch emphasized the importance of protecting BVI’s waters from illegal activities such as fishing, smuggling, trafficking, and dumping. By providing a few details via a QR code found in Island Watch brochures, law enforcement can quickly respond to and apprehend potential suspects.
Chief Inspector Louis Buckley demonstrated the use of the portal, explaining that only minimal information is required to ensure people feel comfortable sharing details that could assist authorities. The brochures containing the QR code can be collected from the RVIPF Marine Base or Virgin Islands Search & Rescue (VISR) offices.
Phil Aspinall, VISR Operations Manager, welcomed the initiative, emphasizing the need for the community to help protect the “sailing capital of the world.” Aspinall stated that many within the boating community are happy to be part of this initiative and others that promote safety and security in BVI waters.