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Illegal Fishing, Drug Trafficking Top Challenges In EEZ Patrols

Yesterday, they met with Commander Fiji Navy, Captain (Navy) Humphrey Tawake to discuss how they can work together.
19 Jun 2019 14:39
Illegal Fishing, Drug Trafficking Top Challenges In EEZ Patrols
D’Entrecasteaux B2M at the Suva Harbour on June 18, 2019.

Illegal fishing and drug trafficking are one of the main challenges any joint French and Fijian navy operation encounter while patrolling Fiji’s Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ).

This was highlighted by French Ambassador Sujiro Seam as French naval ship D’Entrecasteaux B2M berthed at Princess Wharf, Suva yesterday for its five-day port call.

The naval ship is captained by Lieutenant Séverin Jonglez.

Yesterday, they met with Commander Fiji Navy, Captain (Navy) Humphrey Tawake to discuss how they can work together.

“In terms of maritime, security and defence cooperation we also have countries in the Pacific. One of our sovereignty missions is to assist in patrolling our fellow Pacific island nations’ EEZ,” Mr Seam said.

“The second mission is that we have to work with our partners because it is a big ocean and no one can do it alone; bilateral cooperation, joint exercises are crucial to make sure that we have the best possible coverage within our EEZ,” he said.

“We also discussed the main challenges in the region which include illegal fishing, drug trafficking and also climate change and natural disaster.”

Lieutenant Jonglez admitted that the most common illegal activity in the South Pacific was illegal fishing.

“We work with New Caledonia and Fiji for surveillance of any suspicious activity,” Lieutenant Jonglez said.

D’Entrecasteaux heads for Wallis and Futuna for the same operation on Sunday.

“We keep an eye out on drug trafficking, illegal fishing, and pollution amongst other things,” he said.

There is also a landing craft on board which is also used for humanitarian works in case of natural disasters.

French navy vessels are regular within the Fiji waters to enforce their relationship, increase capacity, share notes.

“The recent South Pacific Defence Ministers meeting hosted by Fiji last month was the perfect stage to showcase the importance of our bilateral relationship with our neighbours in particular between France and Fiji,” Mr Seam said.

D’Entrecasteaux B2M had arrived yesterday and will depart on Sunday.

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