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By Agnes M. Abrau

KOROR, Palau (Palau Horizon, Dec. 5) — French navy ship FS Prairial left Palau after expressing willingness to work with this Pacific island country’s coastal surveillance efforts to combat illegal fishing, drug and human trafficking.

The French frigate was here for three days and is now heading to Pohnpei before returning to its homeport in Tahiti after three months of deployment at sea.

Capt. Alexis Latty said upon their arrival on Tuesday that President Tommy Remengesau, Vice President and Justice Minister Elias Camsek Chin, other local officials and French Ambassador to Palau Gerard Chesnel had cocktails on the ship.

Latty said they also met with PSS Remeliik officers and crew and conducted a day of surveillance off Palau shores.

Latty said they want to contribute to regional efforts against illegal activities, particularly illegal fishing, which, he added, is a major concern faced by Pacific island countries.

"We hope that with our visit here we will get to know each other and work (together) for (more) effective surveillance efforts," Latty said.

Bureau of Public Safety Director Hazime Telei welcomed the officers and crew of the visiting frigate on early Tuesday morning.

Staff of the Palau Visitors Authority presented the crew with leis as they arrived at the Malakal Port.

Latty said the French frigate patrols the exclusive economic zones of "friendly nations" across Asia-Pacific.

FS Prairial is about 100 meters long and has 13 officers and 94 crewmembers.

December 5, 2005

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