Fiji Navy Commander acknowledges resource gap

April 10, 2024 6:28 am

Republic of the Fiji Navy Commander, Commodore Humphrey Tawake, admits a resource gap in watching Fiji’s exclusive economic zone.

With the rise in drug trafficking through Fiji posing significant threats to the country, Commodore Tawake expressed the desire to have more patrol boats to cover Fiji’s EEZ.

He says that the four the Navy currently has are not enough, as Fiji’s EEZ covers about 1.3 million square kilometres of ocean.

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“Ideally, I would like more, but again, these are costly assets. This drives into the millions—not only a couple of millions but millions and millions; we are talking about $30 million or over $40 million for one. It’s something the government needs to balance; the government is aware through our line ministry of the needed capabilities that we have, and we are working through the process.”

Republic of the Fiji Navy Commander, Commodore Humphrey Tawake

The Navy Commander says Fiji currently relies more on partners for the security of its EEZ, but the idea of reliance is something Fiji needs to move away from.

“Despite that lack, that limitation that we have, we are working with our regional partners that provide us with those gaps, but again, it does not place the responsibility on large ocean states like Fiji to have their own capabilities to be able to look after themselves, which is to look after their own ocean, their own resources, and to deter and detect any potential risks.”

Meanwhile, Japan has met with Fiji’s Home Affairs Minister, and they’ve made their intention clear: supporting Fiji with its surveillance capabilities.