Monday, May 20, 2024
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New facility to boost maritime surveillance

The opening of the Pacific Regional Vessel Boarding and Searching Training facility will boost and strengthen the Maritime surveillance and Protections of the Blue Pacific Region.

Highlighting this while delivering his address at the opening ceremony held at the Republic of Fiji Naval base in Togalevu, Minister for Home Affairs and Immigration Pio Tikoduadua said Fiji and the region’s security environment is the most unpredictable we have ever seen.

“Traditional security threats and criminal activities, including human trafficking, drug smuggling, crime syndicates, illegal, Unregulated, and Unreported (IUU) fishing, and cybercrime, continue to pose greater challenges to the region.”

“The establishment of the UNODC VBSS (Visit, Board, Search, Seizure) school at the Republic of Fiji Navy Training Base RFNS VITI in Togalevu marks a significant milestone in enhancing maritime security in the Pacific region.”

Tikoduadua shared that this initiative is the first in the Pacific to support the 2050 Strategy for the Blue Pacific Continent to strengthen regional security. It represents a tangible step to building a safer, more secure maritime environment.

“The VBSS operations play a pivotal role in intercepting vessels of interest, conducting searches, and seizing illicit goods or individuals involved in unlawful activities.”
“The establishment of the VBSS school serves as a center of excellence, providing specialized training to maritime law enforcement personnel from across the Pacific region.”

United Nations on Drugs and Crime Head of Global Maritime Crime Programme, Siri Bjune said the training will be done at sea in different environments both day and night.

She said UNODC aims to set up a fully equipped training facility to deliver an effective vessel boarding training facility for the region.

Japan’s Ambassador to Fiji, highlighted that the opening of this facility comes at crucial time as maritime or blue crimes are becoming more diverse and complexed, with potentially devasting impacts on the Blue Pacific.

The VBSS School in Fiji, funded by the Government of Japan and facilitated by UNODC, exemplifies the Fiji Government’s commitment to this endeavour, not just for Fijian maritime law enforcement agencies but also for our fellow Pacific Islanders.

Reginald Chandar
Reginald Chandar
Head of News & Sports | news@fijilive.com

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