Shared goal of peace, security

Commander of Guided-missile destroyer USS Shoup (DDG 86) Andy Strickland (left) meets Lt Commander Timoci Natuva of Fiji Navy on board the vessel at Suva wharf for Oceania Maritime Security Initiative (OMSI) deployment. Picture: RAMA

ARLEIGH Burke-class destroyer USS Shoup (DDG 86) hosted more than 150 military and civilian dignitaries from the United States, Fiji, Australia, United Kingdom, Spain, New Zealand and Japan during a reception on the flight deck on Monday.

The United States Navy (USN) ship was berthed at the Kings Wharf in Suva earlier this week as part of their Oceania Maritime Security Initiative (OMSI) deployment.

It departed Fiji yesterday.

Commanding officer Andy Strickland said they were honoured to partner with the Fijian Navy in their OMSI deployment.

“The partnership we’ve built between our navies is a foundation to ensuring maritime security and stability within the region; what we do here sets the standard for advancing maritime security globally,” Cdr Strickland said.

Charge d’ Affaires at the US Embassy in Fiji Michael Goldman highlighted the importance of Fiji and US relations, saying they were a Pacific nation because they have always been in the Pacific.

“We’re always going to be in the Pacific. We share a commitment, as a Pacific nation, to the peace and security of the Indo-Pacific region,” Mr Goldman said.

“We fought alongside our Pacific partners honourably and bravely. We share values in democracy, bonds in history and faith. We are your brothers and your sisters. We share a commitment to a free and open Indo-Pacific.”

The OMSI program is a Secretary of Defence program leveraging department of defence assets transiting the region to increase the coast guard’s maritime domain awareness, ultimately supporting its maritime law enforcement operations in Oceania.