Police to tackle EEZ security challenges

December 4, 2023 6:33 am

Acting Police Commissioner Juki Fong Chew

Acting Police Commissioner Juki Fong Chew has sounded the alarm on Fiji’s struggle to monitor its Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ), particularly in dealing with the influx of foreign yachts breaching its waters.

Chew stressed the inherent limitations of the police force when dealing with situations beyond their territorial scope, pinpointing potential information gaps that could jeopardize national security.

However, concerns arose regarding crimes occurring outside the EEZ that encroach upon Fijian territory, creating a distinctive challenge for law enforcement and border security.

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“Police have gone out to do their awareness. If you see all these things, they are foreign to you, pass on that information to us so that we can come in and deal with the issue at hand.”

Acknowledging the severity of Fiji’s capacity challenges, Home Affairs Minister Pio Tikoduadua addressed the issue not just as a national concern but a global one.

He notes the universal nature of such challenges, even in the most technologically advanced countries.

“We are very grateful for the UN who are trying to help us to be able to build capability to allow Fiji to excel in these spaces. Water police, the safety of our waters, at the moment is a safety is the responsibility of the Navy. “

Tikoduadua emphasized the imperative for the new generation to cultivate the necessary skills, drawing on experience and support from international allies.

The Minister also highlights the critical role of water police in safeguarding Fiji’s territorial waters, with the Navy responsible for patrolling the EEZ.

He also admitted the vulnerabilities stemming from inadequate monitoring of Fiji’s EEZ and underlined the urgent call for global collaboration to strengthen capacity and neutralize potential security risks.