President Mori Welcomes US Coast Guard Commandant in Palikir
Palikir, Pohnpei (FSM Information Services): July 24, 2009 - On Monday July 20, 2009, President Mori received a courtesy call from the U.S. Coast Guard's top ranking official, Admiral Thad W. Allen at the Office of the President in Palikir. President Mori greeted the Admiral and highlighted some of the areas of interaction that the FSM has with the U.S. Coast Guard.
President Mori first thanked the Admiral for the U.S. Coast Guard's Search and Rescue missions that are provided to the FSM. The President noted that many FSM citizens have been saved due to this. He then pointed out that the FSM's EEZ is huge and it is extremely difficult to patrol the entire area with FSM's limited resources. He told the Admiral that a sufficient presence of surveillance activities is required to deter illegal, unregulated and unreported (IUU) fishing in FSM's waters, and that FSM's boarders also need to be protected from other transnational crimes, such as drug trafficking/smuggling, human trafficking and other illegal activities.
President Mori spoke of the cooperative arrangements such as the tri-lateral arrangement with the Republic of Palau and the Republic of the Marshall Islands with the FSM under the Niue Treaty that have been put in place so the Parties can assist each other in surveillance activities and with information sharing and joint exercises to patrol their zones. The President noted that the U.S. Coast Guard has also been assisting in these exercises and in providing aerial surveillance.
The President also focused on the Shiprider Agreement that the FSM has with the US Coast Guard which allows FSM officers to ride on US boats, and told Admiral Allen that this Agreement has "gone a long way in providing another platform from which our authorized officers can board suspected vessels." In fact, he attributed the recent arrest of one or two fishing boats for illegal fishing activities within our EEZ, to the agreement. He also pointed out that the U.S. Coast Guard now has access to our VMS information to assist them to see where vessels are in the FSM EEZ and that the U.S. Navy may also be helping with monitoring vessels when they pass through the FSM on their way to other destinations.
Admiral Allen talked about continuing the partnerships that the U.S. Coast Guard has with the FSM and focused on the challenges that the vast amount of ocean that FSM has in its EEZ presents towards surveillance efforts, but said that these are not unique in the region and with cooperation, they can be overcome. The Admiral told President Mori that there are significant opportunities to move ahead with the Sasakawa Foundation's proposal for a sub-regional Coast Guard, and that he looks forward to progress with this endeavor.
The brief meeting ended with an exchange of gifts, a photo session and a brief press statement that Admiral Allen gave. This statement can be heard on the FSMPIO website by using the following link: http://www.fsmpio.fm/us-coast-guard-press-statement.mwa.
For further information on this release, please contact:
FSM Office of the President Public Information: Press, Radio, Video P.O Box 34 Palikir Station, Pohnpei, FM 96941 Tel.: (691) 320-2548/2092 Fax.: (691) 320-4356 e-mail: email@example.com http://www.fsmpio.fm/