25 May 2013

Palau to test out drones in maritime surveillance

9:43 am on 25 May 2013

Palau is set to test out the use of drones in maritime surveillance following a meeting with a US company that supplies unmanned aerial systems.

At the invitation of Palau, a team from Aerosonde visited Palau early this month to gain a better understanding of Palau's maritime surveillance and enforcement capacity.

Palau President Tommy Remengesau Junior says a preliminary report issued by the team was very positive.

The report indicates that a small system of unmanned aircrafts could provide covert patrol of high risk poaching areas as well as reduces the operating costs of Palau's lone patrol boat HSS Remeliik.

The President says the team has agreed to demonstrate the use of unmanned aerial vehicles in Palau's exclusive economic zone in early August 2013.

He says with this exercise Palau will be able to witness the use of drones for the first time.

In March, President Remengesau announced plans to ban all foreign commercial fishing in Palau's territorial waters.

Since then, the Palau government has moved steadily in efforts to achieve that goal including seeking options to offset lost fishing revenues.