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APIA, Samoa (August 31, 1997 - PACNEWS)---Two Royal Australian Navy boats have arrived in Samoa for training exercises with the crew of Samoa's Nafanua, a maritime patrol boat.

The Nafanua was donated to Samoa by the Australian government for use in rescue operations, patrolling Samoa's exclusive economic zone (EEZ), and general law-enforcement purposes.

Acting Australian High Commissioner in the Samoan capital of Apia, Melanie Davis, says the visit of the HMAS Bendigo and HMAS Gladstone is part of an ongoing program of good will and training tours of the South Pacific organized by the Australian Navy.

Meantime, the Nafuna's captain, Lorenese Neru, says his ship and crew have been very busy in recent months rescuing fishermen missing at sea. Twelve mission have been carried out so far this year, he notes, compared to only eight during all of last year, with 14 fishermen dead or are missing without a trace in just the last several months.

Neru says accidents are increasing because more and more inexperienced fishermen are taking to the sea to benefit from lucrative tuna market prices.

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