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September 1, 2011
Patrol project reaps rewards
By LCDR Priya Chandra
LCDR Geoff Hart-Davies might not
wear your typical Navy officer's uni-
form but he and his small team are
doing vital work in the Federated
States of Micronesian (FSM) town
They are part of the Pacific Patrol
Boat Project designed by then-Prime
Minister Bob Hawke in the 1980s as a
way of helping Pacific countries gain
economic stability, which is hoped will
lead to stability in the political arena.
The first patrol boat was delivered
to Papua New Guinea in 1987 and the
final one was delivered in 1997 to the
Of 22 patrol boats in 12 countries,
the FSM has three.
The country's police force operates
the patrol boats as the FSM does not
have a defence force.
Reservist LCDR Hart-Davies has
only been in the FSM since January
but is loving it.
"I've been involved in this project
for 25 years and when the opportunity
came to actually deploy as a maritime
surveillance adviser (MSA), I jumped
at it," LCDR Hart-Davies said.
"We assist the host country in
monitoring, control and surveillance
of their local maritime economic
resources and work closely with gov-
ernment fisheries organisations and
The roles and responsibilities of
MSAs can vary between different
countries but all have daily manage-
ment of Defence Cooperation Program
activities and liaise with Australian,
New Zealand, French and US mari-
time patrol authorities and the Forum
"In the FSM the team also assists
the host country with advice on fisher-
ies enforcement, search and rescue,
host-government taskings, disaster
relief, transportation missions and
medical evacuations," LCDR Hart-
LCDR Hart-Davies' team also pro-
vides advice on the management and
coordination of in-country train-
ing.It isn't a job for everyone
-- remote locations, language
and cultural barriers can
make the job even more
The rewards, how-
ever, are great -- espe-
cially being able to
help another country
protect one of its
most valuable eco-
just as much from
the guys here as I'm
them," LCDR Hart-
"They take an enormous
amount of pride in their boats,
and it is a great feeling knowing
you're passing on skills they can
use every day."
LCDR Geoff Hart-Davies,
right, plays a supporting
role to FSS Micronesia's
LCDR Stewart Peter.
Photo: LSIS Helen Frank
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