New aircraft to assist surveillance of illegal fire arms and drugs

The King Air surveillance aircraft photographed at the Faleolo International Airport

By Rula Su’a – Vaai

APIA, SAMOA – TUESDAY 17 JULY 2018: Police efforts to monitor smuggled fire arms and drugs into the country are enhanced with Australian Partnership assistance through two dedicated King Air surveillance aircrafts to be used across the Fisheries Forum countries in the Pacific.

“This will not only be a major boost to our efforts to combat Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated fishing, but it will enhance the overall security of our region through greater Maritime Domain Awareness,” said Australia’s Director General of FFA.

“That Australian Defence funding of around AUD 15 million annually will enable FFA to deploy an additional 1400 hours of aerial surveillance through two dedicated King Air aircraft across the FFA region.”

Police Commissioner Fuiavailili Egon Keil reiterates the King Air aircrafts are going to assist the Police with transnational organised crime issues.

The aircarfts are based in Vanuatu and will be used to take aerial photos, during police investigations on sea and land, and when it takes a picture it automatically picks up and recorded in Vanuatu as well.

The aircraft are sponsored by the Australian Government equipped with special equipment designed for transnational crimes.

“We have the Nafanua Patrol boat that patrols our Exclusive Economic Zones and we also have an airplane that flies over head as part of the police counter attempt in tracking down illegal activities, that includes illegal and dangerous fire arms, narcotics, human trafficking and illegal fishing boats,” said Keil.

Last week Police destroyed almost 300 illegal fire arms which were smuggled into the country, and in April this year police intercepted a drug bust worth at $60,000 talā at Faleolo International Airport.