1 March, 2019. Samoa – Samoa will host one of two King Air200 aircrafts to police illegal activity in the Exclusive Economic Zones of Pacific Island Countries.
Two King Air200 aircrafts are provided under the FFA Regional Aerial Surveillance initiative funded by Australia as part of the Pacific Maritime Security Program.
Samoa formalized its support of the FFA’s Regional Aerial Surveillance Program when Prime Minister, Tuilaepa Sailele Malielegaoi and FFA Director General, Dr. Manu Tupou-Roosen signed the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) in Apia this week.
Under the MoU, Samoa will host one and Vanuatu the other of two King Air200 aircrafts fitted with high-tech sensors, avionics and communications technologies, capable of detecting fishing vessels over a wide area of ocean.
“I wish to acknowledge the generous support of the Government of Australia to strengthen the surveillance capabilities of participating Members through the Pacific Maritime Security Program. This will enable the FFA to assist Pacific islands countries in further addressing maritime surveillance needs and enforcement operations,” said Tuilaepa.
“The surveillance programme, in conjunction with the Pacific Patrol Boat program, will provide targeted maritime patrolling and enhance the ability of Pacific island countries to defend against regional maritime security threats such as illegal fishing and transnational crime,” he added.
Dr. Tupou-Roosen said the MoU with Samoa was a significant step forward.
“The Marshall Islands signed a similar agreement earlier this month and now Samoa is also demonstrating leadership with its willingness to host one of the King Aircrafts,” said Dr. Tupou-Roosen.
“Our Members are contributing to a new level of regional cooperation, with Australia funding the Program and the FFA Secretariat managing the planes and working in close consultation with members.”
The Regional Aerial Surveillance Program commenced in December 2017. Two King Air aircrafts will provide 1400 hours of aerial surveillance per year for 15 FFA members.