The Solomon Islands Government through the Ministry of Police, National Security and Correctional Services has commended the US Navy on a special underwater training program conducted for the Police Explosive Ordnance Disposal and Maritime Police team this month.
Permanent Secretary of Police Edmond Sikua expressed gratitude for the US Government for funding the training program which is crucial to develop the underwater capability of the RSIPF for explosive disposal as well as other aspects of policing.
Mr Sikua and his Under Secretary Steven Maesiola accompanied US Consular to Solomon Islands Keithie Saunders to witness a training session at the Hell’s Point training facility East of Honiara on Friday.
A US Navy Dive team is currently training members of the RSIPF Explosive Ordnance Disposal Team at the Hell’s Point training camp.
The training focuses mainly on underwater clearance of unexploded ordnance (UXO) and is part of an ongoing program that began three years ago.
“The Government of Solomon Islands would like to thank the US Navy for this crucial program which will enhance the underwater capability of the RSIPF not only for explosive disposal activities but it will assist in other aspects of policing such as underwater investigations,” Mr Sikua said.
The United States is working closely with the Solomon Islands Government to clear thousands of unexploded ordnance that remain from World War II.
The US State Department’s Office of Weapons Removal and Abatement has funded the American non-profit Golden West Humanitarian Foundation to train the RSIPF EOD team at Hell’s point this month.
Over the past three years, the RSIPF EOD team has gained an incredible capacity to recognize, remove and reduce the impacts of explosive remnants.
By doing so, the team limits the public safety threat and prevents so-called “bombfishers” from acquiring explosives for dangerous and environmentally harmful practice of explosive fishing.
Beginning on Monday 26 May, the team will travel on weeklong practical dive training in the waters of Tulagi.
Source: Press Release, Government Communications Unit