The US Coast Guard vessel was diverted to Papua New Guinea after its call for access to a Solomon Islands’ port was ignored
A vessel of the US Coast Guard was prevented from entering the Solomon Islands for a routine refueling stop, because the Pacific nation’s government did not respond to its request for port access, Reuters has reported, citing an American official.
On Friday, USCGC Oliver Henry had been patrolling in the region for illegal fishing. It tried and failed to access Honiara port for fuelling.
The Solomons’ government “did not respond”Kristin Kam (public affairs officer at the US Coast Guard, Hawaii) responded to the US’s request for diplomatic clearance. Kam stated that the US Department of State had granted diplomatic clearance. “in contact”Honiara expects to work with you “all future clearances will be provided to US ships.”
Another official said that the vessel from America was diverted instead to Papua New Guinea.
According to social media, a British navy vessel was also denied access this week. HMS Spey also participated in illegal fishing monitoring for the Pacific Islands Forum. This annual operation is supported by the US, Australia and New Zealand.
A Royal Navy spokesperson told Reuters that its ships’ programmes are “under constant review”They are not uncommon to make changes. “For reasons of operational security we do not discuss details,”The spokesperson added that the UK navy was also being mentioned. “looks forward to visiting the Solomon Islands at a later date”.
Honiara did not answer Reuters’ request for comment.
The apparent refusal to grant entry to the Western ships comes amid heightened tensions with the US and Australia following the Solomons’ signing of a security pact with China earlier this year.
Beijing already began training troops in the islands. This alarm has been raised by Australia where fears are that China may use the agreement to build a military base. Since then, Australia has promised to “step up”China responded by accusing Australia, which it claimed encouraged an increase in military deployments in the Pacific. “arms race”In the area
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