Seaport Border Control Vessel Search Training

The Seaport Border Control Vessel Search Training got underway at the Fiji Revenue and Customs Service (FRCS) Headquarters in Suva.

FRCS Director Customs Ms. Shelini Kumar welcomed the Chief Guest, Attorney-General and Minister for Justice, Hon. Siromi Turaga, The Resident Representative of the UNDP in the Pacific Region Munkhtuya Altangerel, Mr. Chris Mackee from the Australian Border Force, other invited guests and the participants to the training.   

She also stressed the importance of an effective coordination and collaboration by all border agencies. Border security is not a task that any single agency can accomplish in isolation. Effective collaboration and coordination among various border agencies are indispensable for identifying and addressing emerging threats promptly and comprehensively. By sharing intelligence, resources, and expertise, we can amplify our ability to detect and deter illicit activities, including smuggling, trafficking, and terrorism. A seamless exchange of information and seamless cooperation across borders are pivotal in staying ahead of increasingly sophisticated transnational threats.

Ms. Kumar stated that investing in the continuous professional development of our border security personnel is indispensable. Comprehensive capacity and capability trainings equip officers with the knowledge, skills, and tools necessary to navigate evolving challenges effectively. These trainings not only enhance individual competencies but also foster a culture of innovation and adaptability within our agencies by allowing us to identify gaps and work together to ensure the gaps and risk are addressed and adequately managed.

Knowledge is a potent weapon in the fight against border threats, but its impact is maximized only when shared and applied consistently. Establishing robust mechanisms for sharing insights, lessons learned, and best practices across agencies is paramount. Moreover, translating this shared knowledge into actionable strategies and operational protocols is crucial for ensuring its practical relevance and efficacy. By fostering a culture of continuous learning and improvement, we can optimize our response to evolving threats and enhance the resilience of our border defences.

Highlighting the importance of the Seaport Border Control Vessel Training, Hon. Turaga said that it is an invaluable opportunity for defense against the influx of illegal substance, including drugs.

He further added that the training served as a cornerstone in preparing the dedicated frontline officers for the complex and demanding responsibilities they face in safeguarding our nation’s seaports.

“First and foremost, the training provides seaport board controllers with in-depth knowledge and understanding of maritime security principles, protocols, and procedures. Through classroom instruction, hands-on-exercises, and practical simulations, participants gain a comprehensive understanding of the different security challenges and threats facing seaports today,” Hon Turaga said.

Hon Turaga also said that it was essential to invest in such trainings to meet the evolving challenges and threats facing our seaports in the years ahead.

The Resident Representative of the UNDP in the Pacific Region Munkhtuya Altangerel added that the training is also very timely, given the recent seizure of over 4.8 tonnes of methamphetamine that was reportedly imported into Fiji and due for export to developed countries in the Pacific Region.

“With this in mind, it will contribute to strengthening the overall governance systems that exist between all government agencies to ensure that the ecosystem for the monitoring, enforcement and prosecution of border control measures are done so efficiently and effectively,” said Ms. Altangerel.

The training is supported by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) under its Integrated Border Management Project and funded by the Government of Japan. FRCS is spearheading the training with the support in facilitation from Australian Border Force and Indonesia’s Directorate General of Customs and Excise.

Participants include officers from FRCS, the Maritime Safety Authority, Department of Fiji Immigration, Republic of Fiji Navy, Border Police, and Biosecurity Authority – along with representatives from Palau and Vanuatu.

The Training will end on the 23rd February.

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