PNG Customs beef up security ahead of APEC

PORT MORESBY, (POST COURIER) – Australia has once again proven to be a friend with gifts to enhance PNG’s border and maritime security ahead of the APEC leaders week.

PNG Customs Service are the proud recipients of three port class Stabicraft vessels and an air cargo pallet x-ray scanner from the Australian Border Force (ABF) and the Department of Home Affairs, Australia.

The announcement of the gifts transpired in Port Moresby last year November.

Department of Home Affairs Regional Director Pacific, Commander James Watson said that the three port class vessels have been used by the ABF for some time, and will offer much capability edge to PNG.

“The ABF has relied on the ‘Port Class’ vessels for a significant period.

“Over many years a great number of our in-shore, coastal and port operations have been made capable by these Stabicraft vessels.

“So as the Australian government gifts them today, we know just how much of a capability edge they will offer to the PNG Customs Service,” he said.

Commander Watson said that it was equally important to bring specialist ABF trainers to Port Moresby to provide a detailed training, induction and safety awareness program, and now that your officers are appropriately familiar and trained on these vessels.

“Australia looks forward to any further opportunities to work together in maritime security ventures in the future.”

Commander Watson said that the air-cargo pallet x-ray will be working behind the scenes at Jackson’s International Airport scanning air-cargo for suspicious and illicit goods capable of doing harm to the PNG community. PNG Customs Service chief commissioner Ray Paul thanked the Australian government for the gifts and stressed on the importance of the relationship between the two countries.

“I am proud of the continuing cooperation between our agencies on border and maritime security issues. Assistance given by Australian agencies has provided the PNGCS greater resources and capabilities during the APEC Economic Leader’s Week in November,” he said.

“Our cooperation has also delivered reciprocal benefits to both our countries on border and maritime security, illegal fishing, people smuggling, Joint Cross Border Controls, and information and intelligence sharing.”

He said that he was eager to build on the progress that they have made in 2018, as signified by this gifting ceremony.

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