Koror, PALAU – Palau’s maritime surveillance capabilities to patrol and protect its territorial waters will get a boost after the Nippon Foundation and the Sasakawa Peace Foundation announced they will donate a new 40-meter patrol vessel to the island nation.
President Tommy Remengesau Jr.; Yohei Sasakawa, chairman of the The Nippon Foundation; and Jiro Hanyu, chairman of the Sasakawa Peace Foundation signed a memorandum of understanding about the deal on Friday. According to the Office of the President, the patrol boat, which is expected to be handed over to Palau by the end of 2017, is worth more than $30 million.
The new patrol vessel is one of several provisions listed in the MOU.
Aside from the patrol vessel, the two Japanese organizations will also donate another smaller patrol boat.
Construction of a new berth for the patrol vessel and an administrative building are also included in the MOU.
Free fuel and training for a decade
The Nippon Foundation agreed to provide financial support to cover fuel and maintenance costs for the vessel until the end of Japanese fiscal year 2027 and for the smaller boat until the end of Japanese fiscal year 2026.
The Sasakawa Peace Foundation is to fund the employment of crews to operate the medium-sized patrol vessel and for training to be conducted by the Japanese partner organizations until the end of Japanese fiscal year 2027.
The Sasakawa Peace Foundation also agreed to provide financial assistance to carry out an on-the-job training program for the crews of the small patrol boat until the end of Japanese fiscal year 2026.
Palau currently has a lone patrol boat, PSS H.I Remeliik, that is about 31.5 meters long. The Remeliik was donated by the Australian government in 1996. The vessel is scheduled to get an upgrade funded by the Australian government by 2018.
The Japanese organizations have already provided Palau with two smaller patrol boats.
Preserve and protect Palau's vast marine sanctuary
On Friday, Palau, The Nippon Foundation, and the Sasakawa Peace Foundation also sponsored a meeting with representatives of the governments of Palau, Japan, the United States and Australia called the “Meeting of Four Governments and Two NGOs for Enhancing Coast Guard Capabilities and Promoting Eco-conscious Tourism in the Republic of Palau.”
Remengesau said that the assistance would immensely help Palau’s marine sanctuary zone.
“With this assistance, along with the assistance that we have been receiving for over a decade from the Australian government, and with partnerships with other partners, such as the United States, and our neighboring Micronesian islands, I believe that we are well on the way to developing one of the largest, and the best-protected marine sanctuary on our planet,” Remengesau said.
By 2020, Palau is to set aside 80 percent of its exclusive economic zone or 500,000 square kilometers of its waters as a no-take fishing zone under its new Palau Marine Sanctuary law signed last year.