The follow-on program to the Pacific Patrol Boat Program (PPBP) was discussed today between the Tongan Prime Minister and Australia’s Parliamentary Secretary for Defence, Senator David Feeney.
Senator Feeney and the Tongan Prime Minister, Lord Tu’ivakano, discussed the key elements under consideration in the new Pacific Maritime Security Program (PMSP).
“With the PMSP we have an opportunity to consider the lessons we have learned from the PPBP, to build a program which will address the complex range of maritime challenges facing our region now and in the future. We will consider new concepts such as information fusion to build maritime domain awareness to deal with threats like illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing and transnational crime,” Senator Feeney said.
“With our regional partners we will take a detailed look at how vessel replacement, operational commitment, aerial surveillance, technical and personnel support will contribute to the success of the PMSP. It is clear from operations like RAMSI or KURU KURU that we have the best chance of success when our region works together. The PMSP will build on successful regional cooperation to deal with issues which affect all nations of the South Pacific.”
Senator Feeney also discussed maritime security and the PMSP in separate meetings with the Commander of the Tonga Defence Services, Brigadier General Tau’aika ‘Uta’atu; the Tongan Minister for Agriculture, Food, Forests and Fisheries; the Minister for Revenue Services; and the Leader of the Democratic Party of the Friendly Islands.
“As we consider the elements of the PMSP, we will work to ensure that it is a holistic response to the range of maritime security challenges which exist,” Senator Feeney said.
Today’s discussions follow Senator Feeney’s bilateral talks with New Caledonia. He will hold further maritime security talks with Samoa and Tuvalu.
Jeffrey von Drehnen 0477 348 476