Tackling Illegal Fishing on Timor’s Sth Coast

Tackling Illegal Fishing on Timor’s Sth Coast

Colonel Coliato bids farewell to 25 troops before their training in Australia (Image/Eugenio Pereira)

DILI, 22 November 2019 (TATOLI) – A delegation of F-FTDL Naval personnel has arrived in Sydney for a month of training with their Australian counterparts on border protection.

Earlier this month Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton announced Australia would offer training for Timor’s military, police and civilian administrators to combat illegal fishing and smuggling – particularly on the southern coastline.

Farewelling the members last week at Hera Naval headquarters, Colonel Calisto Santos Coli “Coliati” said the three-week program was a vital opportunity for Timor.

“The training on the MV Sycamore is very important because Australian Government will soon provide two protector ships [in 2023] that are still under construction in Perth,” he said.

The F-FDTL selected 25 members to take part in the training on the MV Sycamore and HMAS Waterhen, both based in Sydney Harbour.

“You should be proud and show the discipline in the training room, and also [on] the ship training during these three weeks,” Col. Coliati said.

Defence Minister Filmeno Paixão de Jesus said the offer comes as Timor makes plans to create its first national Maritime Authority.

“Australia came to say to if you do not have the ships, we will offer a boat to train the F-FDTL, PNTL, customs and [conduct some] patrols together,” Mr Paixão said.

Minister Paixão said he’s sent a draft Memorandum of Undertanding (MoU) to Prime Minister Taur Matan Ruak to sign. Once the document is signed, he said he’s hopeful the two forces will be able to hold a joint illegal fishing operation next month.

Australian Defence advisor, Major Luke Willwood said it was important F-FDTL members become familiar with the new vessels.

“We hope during three weeks in Australia, they will develop their resources and know all the equipment inside the ships, and also how to the control to the ships,” Maj. Willwood said.

He said Australia would offer ongoing training and maintenance, in far north Queensland, once the first of the two ships is delivered in 2023.

A Guardian-Class patrol boat, pictured during exercises off the WA coast (Image/Austal)

The Guardian-class vessels, around 40 metres in length and capable of carrying 23 crew, are being gifted to 12 Pacific Islands countries, and TL, to “enhance practical maritime security cooperation” and combat international crime, the Royal Australian Navy said.

Timor’s existing patrol boats are reaching the end of their lives, and no longer capable of weathering the rough seas of the south coast, Minister Paixão said. This is despite 80 per cent of the country’s economy dependent on the resource-rich Timor Sea.

Minister Paixão said he had also met the European Union’s Ambassador to Timor-Leste, Andrew Jacobs, to discuss the EU’s support for restructuring the PNTL. He said the EU has committed to help reshape the PNTL Institutional Command, and “fix its internal laws and regulations.”

In Tetum as: Embaixadór Peter Aprezenta Programa Formasaun Ró ba F-FDTL, PNTL ho AlfándegaMembru Komponente Navál 25 Tuir Formasaun iha Austrália

Journalist: Eugenio Perreira

Editors: Francisco Simões; Robert Baird

Translation: Nelia Borges


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