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Network, sharing information vital in tracking illegal operators

Network, sharing information vital in tracking illegal operators
New Zealand defence adviser in Suva Lieutenant-Colonel Josh Wineera (left), with Warrant Officer Rick Derksen onboard the HMNZS Taupo in Suva on August 12, 2018. Photo: Simione Haravanua
August 13
13:28 2018

Information sharing about certain movements of ships will contribute to combating illegal operations.

With the recent case on drugs that were found washed up on an island in the Lau Group and in Tonga, the New Zealand Defence adviser in Suva Lieutenant-Colonel Josh Wineera said extending the network and sharing of information would be helpful to either track or see where they were coming from.

“Sharing information beyond  Fiji’s Economic Exclusive Zone is important because most of those ships however they come, they need to start somewhere,” he said.

“So, I think information sharing around certain movements of ships will be really helpful because this is almost like the end of the chain.

“By the time the ships are in Fijian waters, they clearly have come from somewhere and so it’s important to click their chain of evidence.

“Where they started, where they stopped and where they are going to if they are in Fijian waters.”

He added that New Zealand could assist with that, in terms of aerial surveillance.

“New Zealand has a number of aerial platforms, but I know the Government of Australia also has a very strong programme in providing aerial aircraft, to help improve our procedures.”

He said better co-ordinating between air and sea would be more efficient in the region.

Lieutenant-Colonel Wineera said that the New Zealand Defence Force stood by and was ready to assist the Fijian defence forces a little bit more than just partnership.

Meanwhile, Lieutenant-Colonel Wineera was onboard the Protector-class inshore patrol boat of the Royal New Zealand Navy HMNZS Taupo which has been here for the past two-and-a-half months contributing to Operation Wasawasa II.

HMNZS Taupo departed yesterday for New Zealand. It will be replaced by a larger offshore patrol boat, HMNZS Otago, next month.

Edited by Percy Kean

Feedback: selita.bolanavanua@fijisun.com.fj

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