On Friday, December 5, the Netherlands Royal Marines made good use of their two Fast Raiding Intercepting Special Forces Craft (FRISC) when they joined the people of Saba in celebrating Saba Day. This writes The Daily Herald
It was an early rise for the six Marines, including Commander of the Neth-erlands Royal Marines in St. Maarten, Major Patrick Wokke. At 6:30am the men presented themselves to the Marine Base Pointe Blanche, by which time the FRISCs were already fully fuelled and prepared for the trip.
In a quick briefing, Wokke mentioned the fact that the FRISCs are not only available to assist in emergencies, such as the aircraft disaster on October 29, in which the marines assisted the Coast Guard and found one of the deceased pilots in the water, but are also the means of transport for the marines as they travel between the different islands. Although the rotational detachment is stationed in St. Maarten, the men also offer support to Saba and Statia and each rotation gets to visit and patrol these islands.
The FRISCs are normally used together. This is a safety measure, in case one of the boats breaks down. Each FRISC has its own two dedicated staff mem- bers who not only captain the boats, but are also trained to do basic repairs where needed, in difficult circumstances, such as in the open sea and in bad weather.
For some of the men it was the first time they had visited Saba. The journey took less than an hour, and the men admired the scenery as the FRISCs sped around the island in order to land at the harbour. Upon arrival, the men were met by Frank Gran er, of Frangran Construction. Granger has struck up a partnership with the Marines and has been offering his assistance whenever the men have been on Saba. Granger was honoured by the recently retired Vice Admiral Borsboom with an honour coin. On this occasion, his efforts were once again highlighted as he was presented with a certificate and a Netherlands Royal Marines Badge.
The marines took a few minutes to change from their normal uniforms into ceremonial attire to mark Saba’s special day. Granger then accompanied the men to the church in The Bottom, where a church service marked the opening of Saba day. The marines stood outside the church as guests and other dignitaries arrived and the warm greetings given to the men by the people of Saba showed that, similarly to St. Maarten, the marines had quickly gained a place in the hearts of the locals.