Taiwan is providing Palau a second patrol boat, in addition to what was promised by President Tsai Ing-wen during her visit to the nation last week.

Vice President and Minister of Justice Raynold Oilouch in an interview last week said that the Taiwan Ambassador has informed him “ instead of one boat, they are giving us two.”

Taiwan and Palau last year signed a coast guard cooperation agreement to help police the island nations conservation area and fight illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing (IUU) and maritime crimes.

President Tsai praised Palau as a tourist destination and vowed Taiwan would continue to work with the country in various fields including marine conservation.

Tsai said Palau and Taiwan’s relationship “shows that oceans do not separate us, but bind us together.”

Under the agreement, Taiwan and Palau “agree to seek feasibility of cooperation in the following, exchange of personnel visiting; exchange of personnel for training; Maritime Search and Rescue; Fisheries Law enforcement; and cooperation in combating transnational crime.”

Oilouch, however, said that Palau instead recommended that instead of Taiwan gifting them with two boats, he would have preferred just one bigger boat that can travel all the way to the Southwest Islands.

He said a separate boat that can deal with emergencies in the Southwest islands could be a big assistance in the nation.  Oilouch said usually only PSS Remeliik and PSS Kedam can sail up to the Southwest Islands.

Oilouch said the Taiwan embassy would bring that request to Taipei.

With this, the captain of the  PSS Remeliik is also set to travel to Taiwan next month to inspect the boats at the factory where it is being built.

President Tommy Remengesau Jr. earlier said that he considers the cooperation as “one of the most visible forms of this partnership through the new patrol boat for our coast guard. As our friends from Taiwan know all too well, as island states, securing our ocean spaces is vital to allow our respective national projects to flourish.”  (Bernadette H. Carreon)