Palau, Australia Discuss Maritime Security Cooperation

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Maritime Security Programme provides aerial surveillance

By Jose Rodriguez T. Senase

KOROR, Palau (Island Times, Aug. 24, 2015) – On Wednesday the 19th of August representatives from the Government of Palau met with a delegation from the Australian Defence Force’s International Policy Division to discuss cooperation on maritime security issues and Australia’s ongoing support to Palau via the Australian Defence Cooperation Programme.

The Palauan delegation was headed by Vice President Antonio Bells, and included representatives from the President’s office and the Ministry of Justice.

The Australian delegation was lead by Mr Stephen Broadbent, a director in Australia’s International Policy Division and included the Australian Defence Attaché accredited to Palau, the two Royal Australian Navy advisors stationed in Palau and a representative from the Australian embassy.

Representatives from the embassies of Japan and the United States were invited to observe.

Lieutenant Commander Ben Fennell of the Royal Australian Navy (RAN), who has been seconded to Palau as a Maritime Surveillance, said the topics discussed during the meeting included the Pacific Patrol Boat Programme, the proposed Palau National Marine Sanctuary, cooperation with the Nippon Foundation and Australia’s new Pacific Maritime Security Programme which will provide Palau with a brand new patrol vessel to replace the existing PSS President H.I. Remeliik.

The Remeliik was donated to Palau by Australia in 1996 as part of the Pacific Patrol Boat Program which continues to provide ongoing support. According to Fennell, Australia is currently in the process of procuring a replacement vessel under the Pacific Maritime Security Program.

He said the new vessel will be donated to Palau sometime after 2018 and will be considerably larger than the Remeliik.

Fennell said it will also have improved endurance, range, sensors and communications, significantly enhancing Palau’s maritime surveillance and enforcement capability.

According to him, the Pacific Maritime Security Programme will also provide Palau an aerial surveillance package.

He said the package will be used to detect suspect and illegal activity and to vector the new patrol boat on to target vessels.

"The Pacific Maritime Security Programme is expected to have a 30 year life, so the longstanding partnership between Palau and the Australian Defence Force will continue well into the foreseeable future," he concluded.

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