OSA critical for border surveillance

February 21, 2024 4:39 pm

Humphrey Tawake

The maritime space that the Fiji Navy must monitor makes the task of maintaining a close watch on its porous borders much more difficult.

Navy Commander Humphrey Tawake announced the introduction of a new Official Security Assistance (OSA) program by the Japanese government in response to these challenges.

This program is to support Fiji’s border monitoring activities, specifically with regard to safeguarding fisheries, managing water resources, and working with foreign partners.

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The navy commander highlights the differences between traditional land-based security and the complexity of ocean governance.

“You have to be more present out at sea for our deterrence, by that deterrence than you can detect what’s happening out at the sea. If you don’t go out to sea, then explain it. Unlike land, when you reach a border, you stop and there will be a vehicle or anything you cross, but the oceans are this difference.”

According to Commander Tawake, criminal groups frequently take advantage of Fiji’s open borders, which emphasizes how urgent it is to improve monitoring capabilities.

“This is the challenge that we have, and then we don’t have walls, we don’t have fence out at sea to be there, it is a porous border, and you can come at any angle, and for us to be there, one helps is our visibility out at sea, second is our information sharing mechanism.”

Japanese Ambassador to Fiji, Rokuichiro Michii, says the new OSA program will help improve Fiji’s capabilities in general.

The OSA program represents a significant step forward in Fiji’s efforts to strengthen its border surveillance and protect its marine resources. This comes at a crucial time, as border crimes are becoming more sophisticated.