Last Saturday, a group of students joined the Division of Maritime Security and Fish and Wildlife Protection for an educational surveillance tour aboard the PSS Remeliik II. The students, who won their seats on the trip through the PNMS Art Contest and PNMS Anniversary Celebration, had the chance to learn about the Division’s work in the PNMS firsthand.
Vice President and Minister of Justice Uduch Sengebau Senior and Australian Ambassador Richelle Turner joined the student prizewinners in the morning for a tour of the Division’s facilities. PNMS Surveillance and Enforcement Officer and Maritime Operations Center OIC Jeremiah Ngiratreged demonstrated the Division’s surveillance tools, including its vessel monitoring system and monitoring camera in Angaur.
“From combating illegal fishing and enforcing the PNMS to leading search and rescue operations, the Division of Maritime Security and Fish and Wildlife Protection’s work is incredibly important to Palau.” said Vice President Senior. “I’m very happy that our students have an opportunity to see their technology up-close, and learn directly from the officers.”
“It was a pleasure to join PNMS anniversary event winners. The sense of enthusiasm in learning more about maritime surveillance and research is great to see given the security, environmental and economic importance of protecting Palau’s waters.” said Ambassador Turner
Fisheries Specialists Fabio Siksei and Persis Omelau also led a presentation on the Bureau of Fisheries’ network of Fish Aggregating Devices (FADs), which is being implemented to support the domestic pelagic fishery.
After the morning presentations, students boarded the PSS Remeliik II for an all-day tour along the Northwest coast of Babeldaob. Acting Commanding Officer Allison Baiei began the tour with a briefing and led the crew in a man-overboard procedure. The crew also demonstrated the vessel’s radar equipment, which can detect illegal fishing activity within 96 nautical miles.
“The trip was good, we had a lot of fun exploring the Remeliik II and seeing its equipment” said Micah Misech, one of the PNMS Anniversary raffle prize winners.
Palau International Coral Reef Center (PICRC) Science Officer Dr. Louw Claassens joined the trip as well, and shared a lesson on PICRC’s research projects in the PNMS. The lesson highlighted new studies exploring the Sanctuary’s deep sea environments and documenting its species diversity.
“I learned about a lot of things in the PNMS that I didn’t know, like the Palau Trench, which is 8,000 meters deep” said Auryn Benhart, a PNMS Art Contest winner. “It was very interesting!”
The students also received a ride on the PSS Remeliik II’s Search and Rescue Unit, a fast and maneuverable small craft used to support the main vessel’s operations.
Acting Commanding Officer Baiei finished the day with an address to the students underscoring the importance of ocean protection.
“We’re doing this for your future. It’s very important to protect our waters” he concluded. “Hopefully when you’re our age, you’ll be doing it for the younger generations too.”