Fiji’s commitment towards securing and policing its maritime borders is recognised through the signing of a new Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between the Government of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland and the Fijian Government.

The MOU was officially signed by the Permanent Secretary of the Office of the Prime Minister and Foreign Affairs, Karan and the British High Commissioner to Fiji, Dr Brian Jones, on Saturday onboard the Royal Navy’s Ship HMS Spey.

The President of Fiji Ratu Wiliame Katonivere was also present at the signing.

In welcoming the new partnership, Karan on behalf of the Prime Minister, Voreqe Bainimarama, thanked the Government of the United Kingdom of Great Britain for the exemplary partnership in further advancing our shared commitment on oceans conservation, climate change and tackling maritime security challenges.

He acknowledged Dr Jones for his unwavering support towards the new initiative, which further strengthens the diplomatic ties between Fiji-UK.

This collaboration, he said illustrates Fiji and the UK’s strong historical ties and solidarity in areas of climate change, oceans, trade, defence and security.

Karan said the partnership aligns with Fiji-UK’s commitment on oceans and implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) Agenda 2030 vision of a sustainable ocean or SDG 14.

It also complements Fiji’s existing capabilities in maritime management and further elevates the bilateral relations between Fiji and UK, which has continued to deepen in mutual interests and priorities.

Karan conveyed the Fijian Government’s appreciation to HMS Spey’s Executive Officer, Lieutenant Commander Macnae and her crew for their remarkable commitment and service that reaches Fiji, the Pacific and beyond.

Dr Jones, said ‘the signing of this agreement means Fijian sailors will be able to board Royal Navy vessels and vice versa. This will allow us to work more closely together to combat illegal maritime activity in the Pacific. HMS Spey, currently here with us in Suva, is expected to be in the Pacific for five years or more. Learning from partners like Fiji on the challenges faced and working together on solutions is key for us”.

Rear Admiral Simon Asquith OBE, Commander of Operations for the Royal Navy, said ‘this MOU enables the Royal Navy and several Fijian civil and military maritime authorities to exchange personnel between them for the purpose of “shipriding”. Such activity provides invaluable training and experience to the embarked “shiprider”, improving co-operation, coordination and interoperability.’

The Royal Navy’s greenest ship HMS Spey is currently in Fiji to engage with the local communities and the Republic of Fiji Navy to work together on security and climate change challenges.

Earlier this year, HMS Spey visited Tonga following the Hunga-Tonga volcanic eruption and tsunami, delivering humanitarian supplies and supporting repair work to communications infrastructure.

HMS Spey is expected to depart Fiji later this month.

This story was originally published by the Fijian Government on 23 March 2022, reposted via PACNEWS.

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