French Navy Patrol Boat and French Air Force aircraft participated in regional fisheries policing operation in the PNG EEZ to combat IUU fishing and improve the maritime security

The French Navy Patrol Boat “La Glorieuse” and the French Air Force aircraft “Gardian”, which both came from Noumea and stopped over in Port-Moresby at this occasion, participated a few days ago in a regional fisheries policing operation in the PNG Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ).

This annual operation, called “Rai Balang”, is one of four annual regional monitoring control and surveillance operations aimed at stopping illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing, in the Pacific.

Led by the Pacific Islands Forum Fisheries Agency (FFA), the timing of all surveillance exercises is a closely guarded secret involving FFA’s Regional Fisheries Surveillance Centre, Maritime, Fisheries and Police officials in participating member countries, including PNG, and support from the aerial and naval resources of the United States, France, New Zealand, and Australia. Papua New Guinea benefits therefor of this operation.

It is within this framework that a PNGDF officer and a NFA officer (National Fishery Authority) embarked during 5 days on “La Glorieuse”, to allow each side to exchange experiences. The French crew was very impressed by the professionalism of the two PNG guests who are now their friends. During her boating, “La Glorieuse” had the opportunity to interact with PNGDF Patrol Boat “Rochus Lokinap”.

This operation was also an opportunity for PNG Defence Secretary Hari John Akipe to fly aboard the “Gardian” to participate to an aerial surveillance of a part of the PNG EEZ.

French Ambassador to PNG Guillaume Lemoine says that “This is not my capacity to give further details on the operation, but with several sights and reports to FFA authorities in the full compliance with the regulation in this very sensitive matter, France is happy and proud to have contributed, alongside other partners, to improve the maritime security in the region, for the benefit of its ally and friend Papua New Guinea!”

This story was originally published at Loop PNG on 29 March 2022, reposted via PACNEWS.

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