A Memorandum of Understanding on “Reinforcing the Capacity for Responding to Climate Change and Ocean Management of Fiji” was signed between the Republic of Fiji Military Forces (RFMF) and Korea Hydrographic and Oceanographic Agency (KHOA) at the Embassy in Seoul on Monday 18 September, 2017. Signing on behalf of the Government of the Republic of Fiji, Hon. Rear Admiral Viliame Naupoto, Commander of the Republic of Fiji Military Forces (RFMF) and Mr. Lee Dong-jae, Director General of the KHOA.
The signing ceremony was organized during the visit of the Commander of RFMF to Korea to attend the biennial Pacific Armies Chiefs Conference (PACC) which took place at the Grand Hyatt Hotel in Seoul from the 16–21 September, 2017.
The MOU establishes the arrangement under which the Korea Hydrographic and Oceanographic Agency of the Republic of Korea and the Fiji Navy Hydrographic Unit of the Republic of Fiji Military Forces are expected to work together in conducting oceanographic and hydrographic surveys under the Official Development Assistance (ODA) Project.
The Korea Hydrographic and Oceanographic Agency, through the ODA and by the Development Assistance Committee (DAC) of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development for the period 2016 – 2020, has offered to assist Fiji in terms of equipment, training and other technological gadgets to enhance charting capability. Part of the assistance offered is the training of Fijian personnel in South Korea through exchange programmes in the area of hydrography.
“As Fiji is an archipelago of more than three-hundred (300) islands in the South Pacific Oceans, we have a heavy dependence on oceans as a source of life and majority of the nation’s cargo is carried by water-born transportation, all of those ships rely on nautical charts to find their way,” said the Commander. “We believe that the Fiji Navy Hydrographic Unit will benefit from this MOU by accelerating our capacity development in expertise and resources to carry out a Hydrographic survey of our maritime domain.”
Reciprocating similar sentiments, Director General Lee said, “We are delighted to sign this memorandum which will enable the RFMF and KHOA to deepen their cooperation on issues of common interest and contribute to stability and security of Fiji’s coastal waters. We hope that it is the first step in what is expected to be a long-term collaboration between the two countries.”
The Commander was accompanied by two (2) military officers including Captain Mafi Kolinisau, Personal Staff Officer to the Commander and Force Sergeant Major Waisake Ratu, Warrant Officer Class 1. The attendees also included three (3) representatives of KHOA including Dr. Lim Chae Ho, Director of Nautical Chart Division, Mr. Martin Park, Acting Officer of International Cooperation Team and Ms. Aeri Yu, Interpreter, KHOA and three (3) other representatives of Maritime Information Technology (MIT), a Korean company commissioned by the Government of the Republic of Korea to undertake the work associated with the ODA.