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U.S. Coast Guard to Enforce Maritime Regulations in Palau Waters

The United States and the Republic of Palau have entered into an agreement that grants U.S. Coast Guard the authority to unilaterally enforce maritime regulations within Palau’s exclusive economic zone without the presence of Palauan officials, the Coast Guard said.

The agreement aims to increase maritime domain awareness and prevent illegal, unreported, and unregulated fishing within Palauan waters.

“The United States and the Republic of Palau share common interests and values supporting a free and open Indo-Pacific. This agreement will help us meet our security commitments in Palau by increasing maritime domain awareness and preventing IUU Fishing within Palau’s EEZ,” said U.S. Embassy Koror’s Chargé d’Affaires, Andrew J. McLean.

The agreement follows the similar agreement signed with the Federated States of Micronesia (FSM) last October, under which the U.S. Coast Guard has conducted boardings for FSM.

Other recent regional security advancements include the bilateral defense agreement signed with Papua New Guinea in May 2023. This agreement was recently ratified by the parliament and will enable U.S. Coast Guard boarding officers, alongside their Papua New Guinea counterparts, to conduct boardings in PNG’s EEZ for the first time later this year.

The United States and the Republic of Palau signed the expanded bilateral law enforcement agreement earlier this month on the sidelines of the Joint Heads of Pacific Security conference in Palau.

“This agreement helps Palau monitor our exclusive economic zone, protect against Illegal, Unreported, and Unregulated fishing, and deter uninvited vessels from conducting questionable maneuvers within our waters,” said Palauan President Surangel S. Whipps, Jr. “It’s these types of partnerships that help us work toward our common goal of peace and prosperity in the region.”

Palau, a sovereign nation with about 17,000 people, is committed to protecting its marine environment and relies on tourism, fishing, and subsistence farming for its economy.

“We’re thrilled to deepen our partnership with the Republic of Palau, an island nation with a rich history and a strong commitment to protecting their maritime resources,” said Capt. Nick Simmons, U.S. Coast Guard Forces Micronesia/Sector Guam commander. “This agreement, in alignment with the Pacific Partnership Strategy, significantly strengthens our collective efforts to counter illicit maritime activities in the region and reflects our shared dedication to safeguarding the people of the Pacific. It provides an avenue for our teams, including our proven Fast Response Cutter crews, to increase our support to our partners in Palau.”

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