PALIKIR, Pohnpei—On June 3rd, 2022, the Honorable Kandhi A. Elieisar—Secretary of the Department of Foreign Affairs of the Federated States of Micronesia (FSM)—received His Excellency Hisashi Michigami, Ambassador of Japan, for a signing ceremony pertaining to two non-project grants from the People and Government of Japan to the People and Government of the FSM. The two grants are for the acquisition of four mini-patrol boats, and approximately $2,700,000-worth of diesel fuel.
Increasingly cognizant of the threats of illegal, unreported, and unregulated (IUU) fishing to the Nation’s environment and financial sustainability, the FSM approached Japan to request four (4) mini-patrol boats, the thinking being that, while the Nation’s large exclusive economic zone (EEZ) is protected by the U.S. Coast Guard and the FSM Department of Justice via the Australia-donated patrol boats, the Nation’s coastal territories would benefit from a permanent maritime police presence. On the premise that the FSM is comprised of four states, the Government asked Japan for four patrol boats i.e. one for the State of Yap, one for the State of Chuuk, one for the State of Pohnpei, and one for the State of Kosrae. It is the view of the FSM National Government that these four mini-patrol boats will assist the FSM in adhering to its responsibilities of working to maintain a Free & Open Indo-Pacific by helping to keep the Nation’s borders safe and secure.
“On behalf of the People and Government of the FSM,” His Excellency David W. Panuelo, President of the FSM, said in a statement, “I extend our deepest gratitude to the People and Government of Japan, with whom we share a Kizuna (special bond), for moving forward with our request for four mini-patrol boats. The threats posed to our Nation by illegal fishing, near-shore poaching and harvesting of marine resources, and human trafficking, are entirely real. Additionally, these boats can assist the FSM with search and rescue efforts and disaster relief. Altogether, the patrol boats will assist in our Nation’s overall commitments to a Free & Open Indo-Pacific and the broader Indo-Pacific Strategy to keep our Blue Pacific Continent secure.”
In addition to the signing ceremony for the four mini-patrol boats, the Secretary and the Ambassador also signed for the procurement of approximately $2,700,000-worth of diesel fuel. This marks the second time that the FSM has received assistance of this kind, with the first donation of fuel occurring on September 17th, 2020.