U.S. coastguard vessel unable to refuel in Solomon Islands

Date:

By Kirsty Needham

SYDNEY (Reuters) – A United States Coast Guard vessel was unable to enter the Solomon Islands for a routine port call because the Solomon Islands government failed to respond to a request to refuel and resupply, a US official said.

The islands’ government did not immediately respond to a request from Reuters for comment. The Solomon Islands have had a tense relationship with the United States and its allies since they signed a security pact with China in May.

The USCGC Oliver Henry was on patrol for illegal fishing in the South Pacific for a regional fisheries agency when it was denied access to refuel in Honiara, the capital of the Solomons, a US Coast Guard press officer told Reuters in an emailed statement. mail.

The US ship was instead diverted to Papua New Guinea, the official said.

The British Navy declined to comment on social media posts that patrol vessel HMS Spey, which also participates in Operation Island Chief to monitor illegal fishing in the economic exclusion zones of Fiji, Papua New Guinea, the Solomon Islands and Vanuatu, has been denied access. until port was refused by the Solomon Islands.

“Ship programs are under constant review and it is routine to change them. For operational security reasons, we do not discuss details,” a Royal Navy spokesman said in an emailed statement.

The government of the Solomons and Beijing have ruled out a Chinese military base in the islands, though a leaked draft showed the security deal would allow the Chinese navy to dock and resupply.

The Pacific Islands Forum Fisheries Agency, a bloc of 17 Pacific countries, has a maritime surveillance center in Honiara and annually monitors illegal fishing with help from Australia, the United States, New Zealand and France.

The USCGC Oliver Henry was scheduled for a routine logistics port call in the Solomon Islands, Kristin Kam, public affairs officer for the US Coast Guard in Hawaii, told Reuters in an emailed statement.

“The government of the Solomon Islands has not responded to the US government’s request for diplomatic clearance to refuel and resupply the ship in Honiara,” she said.

“The US State Department is in contact with the government of the Solomon Islands and expects that all future authorizations will be granted to US ships,” she added.

HMS Spey had Fiji naval officers on board as it teamed up with long-range maritime patrol aircraft from Australia and New Zealand and the US Coast Guard in the operation to gather intelligence for the Pacific Islands Forum fisheries agency, the Royal Navy said in a statement on Thursday. .

It conducted inspections of suspected ships in ports and when embarking at sea, the statement said.

The Royal Navy spokesman said it “looks forward to visiting the Solomon Islands at a later date”.

(Reporting by Kirsty Needham; editing by Simon Cameron-Moore)

The Valley Voice
The Valley Voicehttp://thevalleyvoice.org
Christopher Brito is a social media producer and trending writer for The Valley Voice, with a focus on sports and stories related to race and culture.

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