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By Nazario Rodriguez, Jr.

KOROR, Palau (Palau Horizon, May 1) – The FSS Micronesia arrived with its 12 crew members and a local police officer at the Marine Law Enforcement Division dock in Palau on Friday morning April 20 in time for the conclusion of Operation Rai-Balang, which is to Patrol the Palau-Federated States of Micronesia Exclusive Economic Zone border.

Vice President Elias Camsek Chin welcomed the crew headed by Captain Peter Stewart.

Also present during the simple welcoming ceremony at the conference room of the Marine Law Enforcement Division were Bureau of Public Safety Director Hazime Telei, Deputy Director Norvert Yano, Australian Navy Officer Dave Hannah and other officers.

FSS Micronesia left Pohnpei on April 11 and rejoined PSS Remeliik on April 15 at Palau/Federated States of Micronesia border line to start with Operation Rai-Balang.

During the rendezvous, Palau Police Officer Earl Benhart transferred from the Remeliik to the Micronesia for the duration of the operation.

While on its way to Palau, the FSS Micronesia apprehended a Taiwanese fishing vessel in the Federated States of Micronesia Exclusive Economic Zone on April 17 and directed her to Yap as it continued its mission along with the Remeliik.

During the operation, the Micronesia investigated four fishing vessels in Palau’s Exclusive Economic Zone with no apprehensions made.

The small but important Operation to patrol the Palau Federated States of Micronesia Exclusive Economic Zone border concluded on Saturday.

The PSS President H.I. Remeliik joined the FSS Micronesia and the U.S. Navy Maritime Patrol Aircraft to sweep the sea for illegal fishing activities.

The operation was a result of months of joint planning by Australia’s Maritime Surveillance Adviser, Palau’s Marine Law Enforcement Division and the Federated States of Micronesia National Police.

Operation Rai-Balang gained its name from the stone money that used to be traded between Palau and the State of Yap, Federated States of Micronesia and represents the bond between the two nations.

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