The Director of the Bureau of Customs and Border Protection (BCBP) entered into the signing of the agreement with the Assistant Project Manager of the Japan International Cooperation System (JICS) on Tuesday this week.
According to the agreement, JICS will secure and provide two boats for Customs under the Japan’s Grant Aid Program. In return, Customs will ensure that they are able to provide maritime support capability for all enforcement operations and border protection of Palau’s coastal and EEZ.
This means Customs will be able to coordinate its activities with the Division of Marine Law Enforcement, Division of Fish and Wildlife Protection and other national and state government agencies in order to safeguard borders by preventing illegal drugs, goods and other criminal activities and this includes any illegal fishing activities.
The boats will allow Customs the ability to focus on small crafts and other vessels in Palau, conduct patrols and surveillance of territorial sea, including the contiguous zone and board and inspect any crafts for the purpose of carrying out investigations and surveillance. The signing of the contract signifies the implementation of this program between the two governments and Customs to be the recipient of the boats.
Director John Tarkong BCBP in a letter to Shuji Shimizu, Assistant Project Manager, JICS thanked JICS for their assistance under the Japan Grant Aid Project in providing a v-hull boat (2 units) that will allow the BCBP the opportunity to provide maritime support capability for all enforcement operations and border protection of Palau’s coastal and EEZ.
Tarkong stressed that BCBP wont duplicate what the Division of Marine Law Enforcement is already doing but BCBP will have the ability to carry out maritime functions and key tasks set out in Executive Order. 381.
“As we all know, Palau took steps to protect its marine resces in the past and we will continue to collaborate with law enforcement counterparts to develop and approve an enforcement plan to safeguard ocean.” Tarkong said.
Tarkong also pointed out that in discussion with the Director of the Division of Marine Law Enforcement, it was agreed that BCBP will coordinate a joint effort to utilize the boats to help patrol ocean and effectively and efficiently monitor and enforce exclusive economic zone against illegal fishing, drugs, human trafficking and other transnational crimes, and increase abilities for search and rescue operations. (PR)