Entering Malakal harbor through the pinchers, Palau’s newest patrol boat, Kedam, with its 15-member newly trained Palauan crew and accompanied by Japanese counterparts, made its way to its permanent home-berth at Melusch Melachel –marine law compound – witnessed by Palau’s national and traditional leaders.
In addition to the members of Palau’s leadership, family and friends of the crew, Ambassador Toshiyuki Yamada of Japan to Palau and special guests representing the Japan Association of Marine Safety, Fisheries Engineering Co., Ltd., Kegoya Dock Co., Ltd., and NBK Corporation attended the ceremony to welcome the arrival of Kedam and its crew.
An official handover ceremony is scheduled to take place in February 2018.
The largest national police vessel to date, the PSS Kedam is a 40-meter (132 ft) patrol vessel donated by the Nippon Foundation. It is capable of carrying a crew of up to twenty and equipped with the latest state of the art navigation and surveillance systems. The vessel will greatly support Palau’s marine surveillance and monitoring.
In comparison, PSS H.I Remeliik is 31.5-meter (104ft). Remeliik is Palau’s first patrol board donated by the Australian government after Palau gained its independence in 2004.
Funded with the grant by the Nippon Foundation at a cost of over $30 million, Kedam is the latest addition of the project to enhance Palau’s coast guard capabilities for managing its territorial waters including the country’s 200-mile exclusive economic zone.
It is also part of the grant assistance from the Nippon Foundation and the Sasakawa Peace Foundation on the 10-year $70 million assistance provided by the two foundations referred to as the Support to Enhance Coast Guard Capabilities and Promote Eco-conscious Tourism in Palau.
The Nippon Foundation also provided new berth and the administration building., while the Sasakawa Peace Foundation provided capacity training and salary for the crew.
PSS Kedam’s voyage took longer than expected as the vessel met two typhoons on its way to Palau. The vessel and crew made a stop Ishigaki Island in Okinawa and also detoured to Philippines to avoid two separate storms.
The patrol vessel departed from Kure in Hiroshima Prefecture on December 8th.
Members of the Palauan crew are Captain Mayce Ngirmeriil, Executive Officer Jim Shiro Kloulechad, Chief Engineer Moses Nestor, Engineer Kamrul Zaman, Navigator Duke Joseph and Officers Gerwin Ngemelas Temong, Zachary Ngiraului Remengesau, Franley Omkar Chokai, Allen Lauren Ngiralmau, Ronald Beltau Yashiro, Wyzer Meyar Seklii, Gerald Ringang, Jr., Lenin Lmatk Louis, Harley S. Remoket and Carlos R. Ngirturong. The crew was accompanied by their Japanese counterparts, including Master Hatakeyama Kaoru, Commanding Officer Ryuzaki Misao, Second Officer Matsubara Yoshihiro, Kita Shojiro, Sakurai Motonori, and Doi Shiro.
The PSS Kedam is named after the Great Frigate Bird of Palau, a sea bird that is the largest bird found in Palau. “A bird that soars highest among all birds of Palau is able to capture the farthest range of sight in high altitudes as it searches for fish. Nothing escapes the sight of the Kedam. The Kedam is a seafaring navigator that searches for food for hundreds of miles and never forgets its way back home. Territorial and cunning, the PSS Kedam is aptly named after this magnificent bird of Palau,” said President Remengesau during the naming and launching ceremony in Hiroshima on September 18, 2017.