Solomon Islands not responding to US Coast Guard request for port visit, US says

The islands’ government did not immediately respond to a Reuters request for comment. The Solomon Islands has a tense relationship with the United States and its allies following a May security pact with China.

The USCGC Oliver Henry was on patrol by the regional fisheries agency in connection with illegal fishing in the South Pacific when it failed to gain access to refuel in Honiara, the capital of the Solomon Islands, a US Coast Guard spokesman told Reuters in an electronic statement.

Instead, the US ship was sent to Papua New Guinea, the official said.

The British Navy declined to comment on social media reports that the patrol ship HMS Spey, also involved in Operation Island Chief to track illegal fishing in the restricted economic zones of Fiji, Papua New Guinea, the Solomon Islands and Vanuatu, was denied access to ports. Solomon islands.

“Ship programs are constantly being reviewed, and making changes to them is a common practice. For operational security reasons, we are not discussing the details,” a Royal Navy spokesman said in an emailed statement.

The Solomon Islands government and Beijing have ruled out locating a Chinese military base on the islands, though a leaked draft showed a security agreement would allow the Chinese fleet to dock and resupply.

The Fisheries Agency of the Pacific Islands Forum, a grouping of 17 Pacific nations, maintains a marine surveillance center in Honiara and conducts annual illegal fishing surveillance operations with the assistance of Australia, the US, New Zealand and France.

USCGC Oliver Henry was scheduled for a routine call at a logistics port in the Solomon Islands, Kristin Kam, public affairs officer for the U.S. Coast Guard in Hawaii, told Reuters in an emailed statement.

“The Solomon Islands government did not respond to the US government’s request for diplomatic clearance to refuel the vessel at Honiara,” she said.

“The US State Department is in contact with the Solomon Islands government and expects all future permits to be granted to US ships,” she added.

Fiji Navy officers were on board HMS Spey as it worked alongside long-range maritime patrol aircraft from Australia and New Zealand and the US Coast Guard in an intelligence-gathering operation for the Pacific Islands Forum fishing agency, the Royal Navy said in a statement. Thursday.

The statement said that he carried out inspections of suspicious ships in ports, as well as landings at sea.

A Royal Navy spokesman said he was “looking forward to visiting the Solomon Islands at a later date”.

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