Covering an area approximately 30 million square kilometres in size, the recently concluded Operation KURUKURU was a huge maritime surveillance operation working to stop transnational crime, including illegal, unregulated and unreported fishing, smuggling and people trafficking.
Parliamentary Secretary for Defence, Senator David Feeney, said the operation was a massive exercise in coordination for all nations involved.
“OP KURUKURU really does show that as a region we can work together to achieve tangible outcomes for the people of our nations. This operation covered the Cook Islands, the Federated States of Micronesia, Kiribati, Marshall Islands, Nauru, Niue, Palau, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tokelau, Tonga, Tuvalu and Vanuatu,” Senator Feeney said.
“Fisheries surveillance and enforcement staff from all these nations, as well as from Australia, New Zealand, France and the United States worked together over a busy two week period toward the same outcomes.
“This year we have all shown great improvements, with double the number of boardings and infringements being detected, or citations issued, which is really just a tremendous effort,” he said.
In total, 300 vessels were sighted and 206 vessels inspected in this year’s operation.
Senator Feeney said that achievements coming out of the operation were in no small part due to the Australian Pacific Patrol Boat Program.
“Australia’s Pacific Patrol Boat Program is a vital part to the success of the operation. A total of 22 vessels were gifted to 12 Pacific Island Nations under the Program from 1987 to 1997. As the program comes to a close, the cooperation it has begun will continue with the Pacific Maritime Security Program (PMSP),” Senator Feeney said.
“The Pacific Maritime Security Program will see Australia’s commitment to maritime domain awareness and the peace and security of the ‘global commons’ in the South Pacific remain a priority. The PMSP will be a whole-of-government regional response to intensifying threats posed by illegal, unregulated and unreported fishing and transnational crime.
“It will promote Pacific integration through better coordinated surveillance, legal frameworks and cooperation to protect national, regional and global resources,” he said.
Senator Feeney said Australia’s contribution to the operation was a coordinated effort across agencies.
“As demonstrated by Operation KURUKURU, the Pacific Patrol Boat Program provides Pacific Island Nations with an effective means of surveillance and law enforcement in their Exclusive Economic Zones,” Senator Feeney said.
“Surveillance was conducted by Pacific Island Nations within their respective Exclusive Economic Zones using ten Pacific Class patrol boats from the Pacific Island Nations, two French patrol boats, a frigate and a US Coast Guard cutter.
“This was supported by aerial surveillance provided by five maritime patrol aircraft from France, the US Navy and the US Coast Guard. The aircraft surveyed the EEZs of many Pacific Island Nations and adjacent waters.
“Australian Fisheries Management Authority (AFMA) and Australian Customs and Border Protection Service officers provided operational assistance from the Regional Fisheries Surveillance Centre in Honiara. AFMA also deployed officers onboard two patrol vessel involved in the operation,” he said.
Operation KURUKURU was planned, hosted and coordinated by the Pacific Island Forum Fisheries Agency (FFA) from the Regional Fisheries Surveillance Centre. Via secure login, all countries had access to an FFA web-based regional surveillance picture. This picture contained fishing vessel contacts, satellite data, surveillance flight plans and vessel patrol plans and indicators highlighting vessels of interest in the region.
Operation KURUKURU 2012 follows the recent adoption of the Agreement on Strengthening Implementation of the Niue Treaty on Cooperation in Fisheries Surveillance and Law Enforcement in the South Pacific Region by the 17 Pacific Island parties to the Niue Treaty on 2 November 2012.
This will significantly improve the region’s ability to conduct multilateral activities, such as Operation KURUKURU.
Imagery is available at: http://adfmedia.smugmug.com/Feeney/OP-KuruKuru-2012/26670328_SgH92X
Office of Senator Feeney Jeffrey Von Drehnen 0477 348 476
Defence Media Operations 02 6127 1999