The Ministry of Samoa Police is keeping their options opened in arming the new Nafanua II patrol boat Samoa is getting next September.
Commissioner of Police, Fuiavailili Egon Key, wants to keep an eye on how the future shapes up for surveillance work by the police maritime division.
So far there have been no risks encountered by the Nafanua team in terms of aggressive illegal fishing boats from other countries, found fishing within Samoa’s Exclusive Economic Zone EEZ zone.
But Police Commissioner, Fuiavailili Egon Keil in an interview with Newsline this week promises that the options for keeping the teams safe will be considered for operations in the long run.
“That’s another issue we’ll address as we go along,” he said.
The main intentions for arming the Nafanua II are to ensure that the safety of the crew is guaranteed during their operations on sea.
Fuiavailili added, that the experienced team on-board will be fine, as they have never encountered any threats before.
“ I don’t anticipate problems in the future, but it is always good to keep an open mind in case any threat is encountered”
“Right now, we are very confident with the patrol boat we are receiving and the capability of the crew inside our EEZ.”
The Commissioner noted joint operations the patrol boat and crew carried out with other countries like Cook Islands, Tokelau, Fiji and Tonga inside the EEZ without any problems.
Fuiavailili added that the $ST30 million Nafanua II patrol boat donated by the Australian government has the most advanced features compared to the old Nafanua that will be returned.
“There are no guns installed like what we see in the movies but the only difference is that this new patrol boat is much bigger and it can also cater for female maritime training officers.”
There are three female officers according to Fuiavailili that will be travelling with the all male crew to patrol the Samoan EEZ zone.
The women officers also carry out searches and stop unauthorized boats illegally fishing in local waters and ensure they are prosecuted to the full extent of the law.