World Video | Defence | Foreign Affairs | Natural Events | Trade | NZ in World News | NZ National News Video | NZ Regional News | Search

 

FFA Fisheries Observers Repatriated On Chartered Flight

Pictured are the nine Fisheries Observers from Fiji, Solomon Islands, and Papua New Guinea just before boarding the chartered aircraft on Monday 6th July, 2020 Pago Pago time. Photo: Steve Kostelnik

Nine Pacific Islands Forum Fisheries Agency (FFA) Observers have been successfully repatriated to their respective countries on a chartered flight on Tuesday 7th July, 2020.

All of these observers were disembarked from United States fishing boats in Pago Pago, American Samoa over the past several weeks.

The repatriation exercise was financed by the American Tunaboat Association (ATA) member vessel owners and coordinated closely with the observers’ national programmes, and the FFA.

Those that were repatriated include 2 Fijians, 4 Solomon Islanders, and 3 Papua New Guineans. They are now being quarantined in different quarantine locations in their home countries since their arrival.

Another observer of PNG nationality, who was disembarked in Honolulu and transited through California and Brisbane, also arrived in Port Moresby on Tuesday this week.

Some of these Observers had been away from their home countries since December 2019 or early 2020 due to the closure of borders as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic.

In March, the FFA temporarily suspended the requirement for 100% observer coverage on all Purse Seine Vessels in the WCPO. The temporary suspension also calls for vessel operators to repatriate observers that were on their vessels.

Following the successful repatriation this week, FFA Director-General Dr Manu Tupou-Roosen said “FFA is sincerely grateful to the ATA Executive Director and its members for the hard work with the relevant national observer programmes and the FFA Secretariat to ensure the safe return of our observers.”

“The extraordinary situation we’re all faced with calls for closer cooperation, and this is a great example of this,” she added.

ATA Executive Director, William Gibbons-Fly said the repatriation of the observers has been a considerable challenge from the very beginning but it was one that the Association was committed to ensuring happened safely, and in as timely a manner as possible.

“I am pleased to say we received very strong support from the Governor’s office in American Samoa as well as the senior officials in the Departments of Health, Transportation, Immigration, and others,” Mr Gibbons-Fly said.

The ATA Executive Director said to ensure that the repatriation exercise ran smoothly they also worked very closely with the officials in Fiji, Solomon Islands, and Papua New Guinea, as well as with FFA staff.

“Without exception, everyone was tremendously supportive and cooperative,” he stated.

The successful repatriation flight follows the earlier repatriation of other observers that had been on US Treaty vessels and who were dropped off in their home ports in the region. This included a Marshall Islands Observer who was finally dropped off in Majuro port after going all the way to Mexico and back – a journey lasting several weeks.

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
World Headlines

 

UN News: UN Censures ‘heinous Attacks’ In Lake Chad Basin

Conflict over many years has driven hundreds of thousands of people from their homes in north-east Cameroon. UN Photo/Eskinder Debebe The Secretary-General strongly condemned “heinous attacks” against civilians in the Lake Chad Basin, a UN spokesperson ... More>>

South Africa: COVID-19 Pandemic Raises The Urgency Of Structural Reforms

South Africa responded swiftly to the COVID-19 pandemic, but the sharp drop in activity adds to long-standing challenges and raises the urgency of structural reforms, according to a new OECD report released today. In the latest Economic Survey of South Africa ... More>>

United Nations: ‘Immediate Humanitarian Assistance’ To Support Beirut

The response to Tuesday’s explosion in Beirut requires global support in order to “surmount the devastating impact” of the crisis facing the Lebanese people, the UN Deputy Special Coordinator for the country said on Thursday. More>>

UN Experts: Turkey Should Preserve Hagia Sophia As Space For Meeting Of Cultures

The Hagia Sophia in Istanbul should be maintained as an inter-cultural space reflecting the diversity and complexity of Turkey and its history, and preserving the outstanding universal value which resulted in its World Heritage Status, say two UN human rights ... More>>