September 30, 2022

Washington: The US ship is unable to obtain permission from the Solomon Islands to dock in the Solomon Islands

A US Coast Guard vessel was unable to enter Solomon Islands for a routine port call because its government did not respond to a request for refueling and supplies, a US official said.

The Solomon government did not immediately respond to a Reuters request for comment. Its relationship with the United States and its allies has been tense since signing a security agreement with it China in May.

USCGC Oliver Henry was on a poaching patrol in the South Pacific for the Regional Fisheries Agency when it failed to gain refueling entry in Honiara, the capital of Solomon, a US Coast Guard press official said in an emailed statement.

The official said the ship was diverted to Papua New Guinea instead.

The British Navy declined to comment on social media reports that the patrol ship HMS Spey – which is also involved in monitoring illegal fishing in economic exclusion zones in Fiji, Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands and Vanuatu – was not close to arriving.

“Ship programs are under constant review and it is routine practice to change,” a Royal Navy spokesperson said in an emailed statement. “For operational security reasons, we are not discussing details.”

The Solomon government and Beijing have ruled out a Chinese military base on the islands, although a leaked draft showed the security pact would allow the Chinese navy to dock and renew it.

The Pacific Islands Forum Fisheries Agency, a bloc of 17 Pacific nations, has a marine monitoring center in Honiara, and conducts annual poaching observations with the help of Australia, the United States, New Zealand and France.

Kristen Kamm, US Coast Guard public affairs officer in Hawaii, said the HMS Oliver Henry was scheduled to make a routine call to a logistics port in the Solomon Islands.

“The Solomon Islands government has not responded to the US government’s request for diplomatic permission for the vessel to refuel and resupply in Honiara,” it said in a statement.

“The US Department of State is in contact with the Solomon Islands government and expects to provide all future authorizations for US ships.”

The Royal Navy said in a statement that the HMS Spey had Fijian Navy officers on board as she worked alongside long-range maritime patrol aircraft from Australia and New Zealand and the US Coast Guard in the process of gathering information for the Pacific Islands Forum Fisheries Agency. Thursday.

It added that it carried out inspections of suspicious ships in the ports, as well as inspections at sea.

A Royal Navy spokesperson said it “looks forward to visiting the Solomon Islands at a later date”.