Maritime Security Efforts Strengthened In PNG

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PNG-Australia Defense Cooperation Program

PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (PNG Post-Courier, July 13, 2015) – PNG’s maritime security efforts have been strengthened with the support of aerial surveillance, through the PNG-Australia Defence Cooperation Program. During a recent PNGDF Maritime Element Operation, HMPNG Ships RABAUL and SEEADLER were joined by a King Air B200 from TROPICAIR to assist with Maritime Surveillance and Enforcement in PNG’s Exclusive Economic Zone. The aircraft was contracted through the PNG-Australia Defence Cooperation Programme. The Aircraft patrolled areas North of Madang and Wewak and North - North East of New Ireland over a two week period. It was during one of these patrols that HMPNGS RABAUL was directed by the aircraft towards two vessels acting suspiciously. They were subsequently apprehended under direction from the National Fisheries Authority and escorted to Kavieng and handed over to the National Fisheries Authority for action. The Officer In Charge of the National Surveillance Coordination Centre, LCDR Bunu Mwatapa, stated: "Air Surveillance is considered to be of great strategic importance to the Nation in the continuing battle to police PNG’s Exclusive Economic Zone. It is the intention of the NSCC to continue to have aerial support for future operations increase the effectiveness of Operations". During the month-long fisheries operation the PNGDF apprehended five vessels for various infractions. Head of Australian Defence Staff COL Dick Parker said: "We are very pleased to have supported the PNGDF to undertake this extremely important operation in protecting PNG’s sovereignty and economic prosperity. We will continue our extensive support to PNG’s maritime security efforts as we work together to ensure our shared regional security’.

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