“OUR two countries have worked together over many years in support of our collective regional security goals and values.
“I am sure RSIPV Taro will also help make our Pacific Ocean safer and more secure. And in so doing, fulfill an international responsibility because the Pacific Ocean is critical to our and the world’s future.”
Those were the words of the Solomon Islands High Commissioner to Australia Robert Sisilo, as he, on behalf of the Government and people of Solomon Islands, took possession of the Patrol Boat Taro which the Government and people of Australia gave at a colourful handover ceremony at the Henderson Shipyard in Perth, Western Australia, on 7 May.
“It is the world’s largest ocean, providing 60 percent of the world’s fish and home to the world’s largest tuna fishery,” Sisilo said.
“Much of the ocean is still waiting to be explored but human activities like illegal fishing, oil spills, ocean pollution, deep-seabed mining and fossil-fuel burning are already changing it big time,” he lamented.
“Because of climate change the world’s marine life are increasingly put under severe stress with tsunamis and cyclones getting more frequent and more intense with too many stories to count and tell of havoc, displacement and misery.
“And if that was not enough, then sea-level rise to drown shorelines and landmarks creating land shortages resulting in land incursions and disputes particularly on the outlying atolls.
“We can only prosper when our ocean and seas are safe and secure. We have seen the tragedy of tsunamis and cyclones.
“And bore the brunt of the impact of sea-level rise on our Islands and coastlines.
“We have also seen and felt the profound impact of civil unrest on security on the seas.”
“This is perhaps our greatest collective security. For even in this changing world, the oceans still hold the key to its fortunes.
“Solomon Islands is all for a secure and sustainable future for the Pacific Ocean and is proud to be your partner.
“A partnership that has stood the test of time.”
Australian Member of Parliament Vince Connelly represented the Australian Government at the ceremony.
Connelly served as a Company Second-in-Command in Solomon Islands during the RAMSI days.