Blue skies for shared security
Australia’s ongoing support to assist Solomon Islands was as clear as the sky today when a C27 RAAF aircraft made a special low-level flight over Guadalcanal and Central Province.
The Australian High Commissioner, Dr Lachlan Strahan, was delighted to receive some very special guests on board – Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare, the Attorney-General and eight Cabinet
Ministers (Mines, Energy and Rural Electrification; Education and Human Resources Development; National Planning and Development Coordination; Women, Youth, Children and Family Affairs; Communication and Aviation; Forestry and Research; Health and Medical Services; and Culture and Tourism).
The flight allowed the Prime Minister and his colleagues to see the natural beauty and land use of two provinces up close in startling detail.
The C27 has been conducting flights over the last two weeks under Operation Kurukuru, one of the largest maritime surveillance operations in the world, led by the Forum Fisheries Agency (FFA) and involving 15 Pacific Island countries, Australia, New Zealand, France and the United States. The Operation aims to detect, deter, report and/or apprehend potential IUU fishing and other criminal activity at sea. It builds capacity of national surveillance initiatives through support and mentoring from the Fisheries Surveillance Centre at FFA.
On an earlier flight this week, the High Commissioner was pleased to host the Minister for Police and the Permanent Secretaries for Police, Foreign Affairs and Communications.
Dr Strahan said Australia was committed to helping Solomon Islands protect its natural resources and tackle illicit activities.
“Australia has provided both the C27 aircraft and Royal Australian Air Force personnel, who have spent the past few weeks participating in a very successful exercise, in which approximately 250 vessels were sighted. Seventy of these were boarded.”
“We are determined to stop illegal fishing and help stamp out irregular or unlicensed vessels from operating in the South Pacific.”
Dr Strahan also noted that the Australian Defence Force continues to work closely with Solomon Islands to maintain security in what is our shared region, the southwest Pacific.
“Australia remains committed to its longstanding security cooperation with Pacific Island countries under our Pacific Maritime Security and Defence Cooperation Programs,” he said.
Also this week media representatives enjoyed a six hour flight on board the Royal Australian Navy Airforce C-2J7J which covered the southern part of Solomon Islands enabling them to gather first-hand information on how Operation Kurukuru is being executed.
- Australian High Commission Media