Maritime security needs resources

Editorial

TRANSPORTING of illegal cargo along the international border of Papua New Guinea is a concern for police in maritime provinces.
Seafarers involved in this trade know that PNG police do not have boats to patrol many of the outlying islands, hence, they take advantage of the situation.
Maritime security is frequently defined as protection from threats to the freedom or good order at sea.
Issues grouped under the notion of maritime security include crimes such as piracy, trafficking of people and illicit goods, illegal fishing or pollution.
We have been reporting on concerns raised relating to maritime security.
Concerned authorities over time have made assurances this will be looked into.
This week, we have the deputy commissioner of police for the Autonomous Region of Bougainville (AROB), Francis Tokura, saying illegal immigrants, weapons and drugs are being transported across the maritime border.
On many occasions, this is undetected, because his policemen do not have a proper vessel to constantly patrol the country’s sea border.
Tokura’s area of command shares the international border with Solomon Islands.
Worse still, police on our side depend on Solomon Islands’ police to assist because they have a boat.
Our police in Bougainville need a fast boat that can carry more officers and travel out into open sea and conduct patrols.
We say our police in Milne Bay, Manus, Daru and West Sepik need the same.
Right now, the PNG Royal Constabulary has Water Police units in Port Moresby, Lae, Madang and Kimbe with a total of 89 members.
Good news for the New Year is that more units will be established in the 15 coastal provinces under the new police restructure once it is approved.
After Apec, Water Police has 17 boats and jet skis.
This unit is very important due to increasing piracy, drug-smuggling and other illegal activities that take places along the coastal areas.
They only operate within the 12 nautical miles of our national economic zone.
Beyond that is where the PNG Defence Force maritime element operates.
Although piracy attacks may not be very popular in PNG, there is no decline in sea terrorism worldwide.
On the contrary, our sea trade routes may never have been more vulnerable and threats to economies through disruption of maritime lines of supply never more relevant.
Cruising on the high seas is booming.
The industry is responding by building bigger and bigger ships.
Elsewhere, terrorism at sea has emerged with even greater consequences.
Maritime security is one of the latest buzzwords of international relations.
Major actors have started to include maritime security in their mandate or reframed their work in such terms.
Maritime security is a term that draws attention to new challenges and rallies support for tackling these.
The support from concerned partners in Australia, US, New Zealand and Asian Development Bank is something PNG relies heavily on to address this area of concern.
It is common knowledge that sea terrorism will only be contained when our seas are policed effectively.
The need to have a structure that addresses maritime security capacity building must be addressed.
The maritime border is an important area and must be addressed swiftly.
The maritime border must always be under surveillance.

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