New NZDF Crew Vows to Continue Good Work in Fiji
About 380 vessels have been boarded and 70 infringements detected since HMNZS Hawea arrived in Fiji in late April to help the Fiji Government in maritime surveillance.
1 September 2017
A new rotation of 26 New Zealand Defence Force (NZDF) personnel is committed to carry on the good work achieved so far in the combined maritime security patrols of Fiji’s territorial waters.
“The crew members are eager to continue the amazing job that has been achieved in helping patrol Fiji’s waters,” Lieutenant Brock West, the new Commanding Officer of Inshore Patrol Vessel HMNZS Hawea, said after the Change of Command ceremony in the Fijian capital of Suva.
“They are excited at this great opportunity and are aware of the hard work and effort that is required to make this operation a success.”
The NZDF sent Hawea to Fiji in late April to help patrol its territorial water and exclusive economic zone. Hawea’s deployment to Fiji marks the first time that a Royal New Zealand Navy Inshore Patrol Vessel has been deployed to the South Pacific, and fulfils the New Zealand Government’s offer to help Fiji in maritime surveillance.
Lieutenant Dave Luhrs, Hawea’s previous Commanding Officer, said about 380 vessels had been boarded and 70 infringements detected since Hawea arrived in late April.
The infringements included vessels fishing without licences, illegal use of underwater breathing apparatus for fishing, dumping of rubbish at sea and safety infringements such as not holding master’s licences and lifejackets and overloading of vessels.
“Apart from the fisheries patrols, another success story from our deployment here is the integration of Republic of Fiji Navy sailors with our crew,” Lieutenant Luhrs said.
More than 20 Fijian Navy personnel have received training on Hawea so far.
“They are involved with the boardings and are assigned tasks along with the rest of the crew members. By providing practical, hands-on training we hope to support the Fiji Navy in developing their capability.”
Hawea has conducted eight patrols so far with staff from the Republic of Fiji Navy and Fiji’s Ministry of Fisheries and Forests, and Revenue and Customs Authority. Fishery officers from New Zealand’s Ministry for Primary Industries are also taking part in the patrols.
Commodore Jim Gilmour, the Maritime Component Commander, said it is hoped that the combined patrols would act as a deterrent to those who were considering illegal activity in Fiji waters.
“Together with MPI and with the use of one of our patrol vessels, we have been working with the Fijian authorities to protect their fishery resources and ensure that Fijian and visiting vessels comply with fisheries legislation.”
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