Australian Defense Attaché, approves $1.9 million for extension of Police Maritime offices

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The Ministry of Police and Prisons will extend its Maritime Division located on the wharf with close to $2 million tala funding, thanks to the Australian Government. 

This was confirmed following a courtesy visit by the Australian Defense Attaché Lt Colonel Sean Edward Benporath who arrived in Samoa on Tuesday to meet with Samoa Police Commissioner, Auapa’au Logoitino Filipo. 

Colonel Benporath based in Tonga is accredited to four countries Samoa, Kiribati and Tuvalu including Tonga. 

Auapa’au told Radio Polynesia, that the funding will not only extend their Maritime offices but will also upgrade the gymnasium located on the wharf. 

He acknowledged the continuing partnership with the Australian Government and that having leaders like Colonel Benporath understand the needs of the Police Service, is commendable.

“As the maritime division responsible for overseeing the ongoing protection of Samoan waters, border protection from external security threats ranging from transnational crime, unreported, and unregulated (IUU) fishing; and also to provide effective emergency response services for disasters, such as coastline surveillance, and also search and rescue operations.

According to Auapa’au Colonel Benporath has assigned two Maritime Advisors that are members of the Royal Australian Navy based in Samoa to assist with the daily operation of the Maritime division.

Furthermore, the Police Commissioner confirmed that Colonel Benporath has pledged to assist the Police Service in preparations for the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting that will be held in Samoa in 2024, with leaders and delegations from 54 commonwealth nations from across Africa, Asia, the Caribbean, the Pacific and Europe. Leaders of Commonwealth countries meet every two years, hosted by different member countries on a rotating basis since 1971, their last meeting was in Rwanda.