U.S. donating two patrol boats

The major donation that the U.S. Embassy has promised turned out to be two 110-foot patrol boats for the Servicio Nacional de Guardacostas. The boats, which are expected to be delivered next year, will expand the range and speed of coast guard coverage in the Pacific, said the Ministerio de Seguridad Pública.

The donation was announced by William R. Brownfield, U.S. assistant secretary for international narcotics and law enforcement affairs. The estimated value is $19 million.

Although the crafts clearly are expected to run down drug smugglers, the ministry said they also would be used to make rescues and suppress pirates. Some 50 Costa Rican crew members will spend time in Baltimore, Maryland, to learn how to handle the boats, said the ministry.

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