Vice President and Minister of Justice Raynold Oilouch will travel to Australia this weekend to inspect the new patrol boat that will replace PSS H.I. Remeliik .
Oilouch said that through the invitation of the Australian government, he will inspect the new patrol vessel together with Marine Law Director Victor Remengesau“ that is being built and near completion.”
He said after the inspection of the new boat-PSS Remeliik II, “ it will be put in water,” with the marine law officers on board for some training and its ready to sail to Palau by May.
Oilouch said that the PSS H.I. Remellik will be taken out of commission and sail back to Australia by March 2020 with the new boat coming in by June.
PSS Remeliik was donated by Australia 24 years ago and the new patrol boat will have a length of 139 feet, which is 35 ft longer than the 104 feet Remeliik.
The new boat, estimated to cost around $20 million. can also take a crew of up to 25.
The new patrol vessel will join Japan’s PSS Kedam and the two smaller boats to conduct maritime surveillance in Palau’s Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) and its marine sanctuary.
Before PSS Kedam, Palau only has one patrol boat- PSS H.I Remeliik.
In earlier statements, Remenegsau said Kedam and Remeliik will help patrol its ocean and assist in tackling the challenge of illegal, unregulated and unreported fishing.
“We are one percent land, and 99 percent ocean. And that means, we are indeed a large ocean state, and the ocean is everything to us. It is our food security, it is our economic security, it is our cultural and social security, for it is our way of life. “
Australia has been delivering patrol boats to other Pacific Island Countries. Other recipients include Tonga, the Solomon Islands, Papua New Guinea, Fiji, Tuvalu, Kiribati, Samoa, Vanuatu, FSM, the Marshall Islands, and the Cook Islands.
Australia is also complementing its patrol boat program with aerial surveillance service which is part of the Australian Government Department of Defense’s $2 billion Pacific Maritime Security Program. (Bernadette H. Carreon)