Horta urges the Navy component to protect TL’s marine resources

Horta urges the Navy component to protect TL’s marine resources

President of Republic, José Ramos Horta (Photo Tatoli/Egas Cristovao)

DILI, 13 january 2023 (TATOLI) – The President of the Republic, José Ramos Horta urges the Timor-Leste Navy of the National Defence Force (F-FDTL) to protect Timor-Leste’s marine resources.

The Head of State made the statement on the occasion of the celebration of the Timor-Leaste Navy’s 21st anniversary in Hera-Dili, today. 

Horta said that 90% of the State budget came from Timor-Leste’s underwater natural resources, especially the Petroleum Fund: “But, we still don’t have the capacity to adequately protect our underwater resources.”

Horta stressed that the State needs to improve the Navy Component to protect Timor-Leste’s underwater resources: “Timor-Leste needs to invest in human resources, infrastructure and adequate equipment to help the Navy carry out its job.” 

He said a collective effort is also needed to better protect the underwater resources.

“Our waters are threatened by illegal fishing, piracy, illegal maritime trade, illegal exploitation, human trafficking, and illegal migration. Therefore, we need to strengthen collective efforts, especially with our neighboring countries such as Australia and Indonesia to protect our natural resources,” Horta said.

He emphasized that cooperation on maritime security is important to protect the region’s underwater natural resources and ensure a safe and secure route for shipping activities without any threats. 

“Collective Security Cooperation would improve our bilateral relations with neighboring countries, which would help increase the capacity of our Navy.”

The Australian government will provide Timor-Leste with two guardian patrol vessels in 2023 to support security patrol in Timor-Leste’s maritime waters. 

“The two patrol vessels would help protect Timor-Leste’s natural resources not only in the northern sea but also in the country’s southern sea,” Horta said. 

The Head of State added that PNTL and F-FDTL also need to strengthen collaboration to protect Timor-Leste’s water. 

“I would like to congratulate Major General Falur Rate Laek, the Chief of the General Staff of the Armed Forces, and the Navy officers on the occasion of the celebration of the 21st anniversary of the Navy Component. Navy officers should stick to the Navy’s doctrine to better protect our sea and our natural resources,” Horta said.

Timor-Leste is located in Southeast Asia connecting the Indian and Pacific Oceans and linking the sea route between Ombai and Wetar.

At around 15,000 square kilometers and with just over one million people, contemporary Timor-Leste is the smallest nation in the Coral Triangle. 

Timor-Leste is known to have some of the most diverse coral reef ecosystems in the world. The waters around the island are also home to various species of fish and also an important migratory channel for cetaceans, such as blue whales. 



Journalist: Filomeno Martins

Editor: Nelia Borges 


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