Cook Islands Hosts Regional Maritime Police Exercises

Samoa, Tonga, Cook Islands patrol boats to improve 'interoperability' 

By Chris Taylor

RAROTONGA, Cook Islands (Cook Islands News, Aug. 8, 2017) – In a Pacific Islands nations first, the Cook Islands Police Service is this month hosting a Pacific-led maritime exercise with Samoan Police and Tongan Naval patrol boat contingents.

Maritime surveillance advisor to the Cook Islands patrol boat Te Kukupa, Kerry Driver, said the aim of the large scale operation was to bring about greater “interoperability” or coordination.

“That’s not only between the Pacific Island nations police and naval operations, but also with our ‘Quad’s’ partners; who are the Australian, New Zealand, French and United States militaries.”

The Quadrilateral Defence Coordination Group coordinates the security effort in the Pacific, particularly in the maritime domain, by supporting island states to sustainably manage their natural resources, including fisheries.

There will be representation from each of the Quad partners during the month’s exercises around the 1,800,000 square kilometre Cook Islands Exclusive Economic Zone.

Driver, a New Zealand Navy Lieutenant Commander, said the training exercise would also improve how Pacific region patrol boats worked in conjunction with other nations outside of Quad partner operations, as the exercise is based on international military and law enforcement standards.

The Samoa Police patrol boat Nafanua was the first of two Pacific vessels to arrive at Avatiu port on Sunday in advance of the multi-national training exercise in the Cook Islands.

Tongan Navy patrol boat Pangai arrived early Monday morning and a ceremony will be held at Avatiu wharf this morning to open the cooperative programme.

Cook Islands News
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