Isla del Coco radar expected to go into service March 16

The new radar setup on the Isla del Coco is expected to enter into service March 16.

The system is designed to spot drug smugglers, illegal fishing crews and other crimes on the high seas.

The Instituto Costarricense de Electricidad said Tuesday that the hardware for the radar has arrived and was being stored by customs officials. The equipment will go to the Servicio Nacional de Guardacostas station in Caldera where it will undergo tests.

This has been a difficult job with workers braving jungle heat

Getting material onto the island can be difficult. There are no deep harbors.

Getting material onto the island can be difficult. There are no deep harbors.

and pests to construct a site on a peak.

The Coco radar station cost $3.6 million and has been financed by donations by Conservation International, the Asociación Costa Rica por Siempre and government agencies.  It has a reach of some 35 nautical miles.

The area around the island is a protected zone but there are many cases of illegal fishing there because the ocean is populated densely by marine life.

Eventually the government envisions 13 radar stations on the Pacific and Caribbean coasts. There is one already at Caldera.

That was financed by the U.S. Southern Command.

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