A MOVE to curb boat-related accidents, deaths and better monitoring of illegal activities, including human trafficking, has resulted in the close co-operation between police and the Maritime Safety Authority of Fiji.
Twenty police officers from the Eastern Division yesterday graduated from a week-long course run by MSAF.
Eastern Division officer-in-charge ASP Nacanieli Ravu said police work in relation to water police had so far been limited to search and rescue.
"After this training, our officers will be authorised to use marine vessels and patrol areas and curb illegal operations," said ASP Ravu.
"Human trafficking, smuggling and transnational crime is something that is staring in our faces.
"We also will like the maritime community to help us. They can do that by alerting authorities if they notice something strange or irregular, like a yacht anchored off their island."
For MSAF, this will help them cut down the number of deaths and accidents caused by the use of illegal vessels or unqualified boat operators.
MSAF's manager compliance and standards John Tunidau said most boating accidents happened because of illegal operations.
After the Eastern Division, officers in the Northern and Western divisions will take up the training.