NZ navy ready to help Fijian counterpart

THE Royal New Zealand Navy and Fiji Navy hopes to further work together in the areas of capacity building and technical assistance after the conclusion of Operation Wasawasa.

In a press conference yesterday, Fiji Navy Commander Captain Humphrey Tawake said with the limited capability they had, they were grateful to the NZ Navy for availing one of its ships to come and patrol Fiji’s waters.

HMNZ Hawea was on a six months deployment in Fiji as part of Operation Wasawasa — an integrated maritime surveillance and reconnaissance patrol of the Fijian exclusive economic zone.

During more than six months of their operation, the crew and other agencies onboard the naval vessel who were part of the operation conducted 528 boardings and issued 107 infringements.

“That’s the way forward for us given the dynamics of the maritime security environment that’s out there, I think it shows how well two nations can work together under the same challenges,” Capt Tawake said.

He labelled the operation a success and hoped it would continue in the future.

However, New Zealand Defence Force Maritime Component Commander Commodore Jim Gilmour said it was up to the Fijian Government whether they wanted to continue the operation next year or not.

“We have always looked at ways where we can further build relationships between our two defence forces and whilst the conversation generally leads to whether we will repeat this operation in 2018, I should say that the NZDF is planning for that eventuality but this is something the Government of Fiji will decide,” he said.

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