By Pacific Island Times News Staff
Palikir—Federated States of Micronesia President Wesley W. Simina has announced plans to establish a substation on Kapingamarangi as part of a network of support facilities that will be set up on strategic points throughout the nation.
The proposed project was based on the Department of Justice's recommendation.
According to a press release from the president's office, the facility will serve as an outpost for refueling, monitoring support of surveillance and law enforcement activities on the FSM's territorial waters.
The justice department noted that Kapingamarangi is the nation's southernmost island that is a rich fishing ground of this nation and borders neighboring countries. Its location and strategic value require attention, the department said.
Other outer islands considered strategic locations, such as Pulusuk and a neighboring island in Yap, will be identified in the future to be part of the network of support facilities for the nation’s Maritime Division.
Establishing a facility on Kapingamarangi will enhance the delivery of law enforcement, MEDIVAC, search and rescue and special outreach services to the southern islands, the president's office said.
Acting Secretary of Justice Leonito Bacalando Jr., Maritime Commander Steward Peter, Pohnpei Sen.-elect Edgar Lickaneth and staff from the Department of Transportation Communication and Infrastructure conducted a scoping trip to the southern island on Dec. 13 and 14, after consulting with Pohnpei State, to identify a suitable site for the proposed outpost facility.
The team conducted outreach and consultations with the community leaders on the outer island and shared the plans for the facility that will enhance maritime surveillance, protect marine ecosystems and EEZ, increase community engagement, strengthen regional security and preposition maritime supplies and assets for emergency needs.