PNG Ports to partner with police to stop crime at sea

PNG Ports Corporation Limited (PNGPCL) will be working with the police to tighten security and carry out water policing at its regulated port areas in Lae and Port Moresby.

Talks between PNGPCL and the Royal Papua New Guinea Constabulary (RPNGC) are currently underway with a non-legally binding agreement to effect this joint operation soon.

This move comes after recent sea piracy attacks in the country which have resulted in fatal accidents and few deaths, the recent being of a fisherman in Port Moresby.

A Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between PNGPCL and the police is being finalised and once signed will also be the preliminary step in preparation of the upcoming Asia Pacific Economic Corporation (APEC) meeting to be held in Port Moresby in November, 2018.

Under the MOU, PNGPCL will facilitate the logistics for RPNGC to carry out its mandated policing functions within the harbour precincts of the Port Moresby and Lae Ports, while the RPNGC will provide manpower from either the water police or other operational units to patrol the harbour areas.

PNGPCL Acting Managing Director, Stanley Alphonse, said PNGCPL would be providing two used pilot boats to conduct harbour patrols, as well as provide safety orientation for boarding and using the pilot boats.

He also said PNGCPL would provide a crew for the pilot boats, in particular, a Coxswain and a marine mechanic.

As part of the MOU, training for the PNGPCL vessel crew on police operational procedures, will be done by the RPNGC as well as the instalment of relevant police safety equipment, signage and other fittings such as police blue lights, he said.

“PNGPCL wants to engage the assistance of police because the nature of our operations within the port areas requires the presence of the police to counter illegal activities,” said Mr Alphonse.

“Both parties (PNGPCL and RPNGC) have a common desire to ensure that the harbour areas, including berth facilities which are entry and exit points for ships, goods and people are free from illegal activities and are safe and trouble free areas,” he said.

This agreement for water policing will be the first of its kind between PNGPCL and the RPNGC, although other differing partnerships have been in place before.

The official signing of the MOU will be conducted soon.