Suva, Fiji, August 10, 2021. The Oceania Customs Organisation (OCO) with support from the Australian Border Force (ABF) held the third OCO Pacific Small Craft Application (OPSCA) Regional Coordinators Forum as part of its ongoing efforts to improve the region’s capabilities in border security.
The 26 regional coordinators who are being trained have been nominated from 14 countries and are managing the administrative needs of the OPSCA app and will also train Customs officers on the use of the app in their own administrations.
OPSCA was developed by ABF in collaboration with OCO to enhance border management and coordination amongst members in the region by collection of information on movement of yachts in the Pacific.
The training on August 4 had 19 regional coordinators from 10 member countries- Australia, Commonwealth of Northern Mariana Islands (CNMI), Fiji, Federated States of Micronesia (FSM), Guam, Kiribati, Niue, Palau, Papua New Guinea (PNG) and Solomon Islands.
“While most borders in the region are still closed and there is little movement of small crafts, we do have a positive in this pandemic in that it gives us time to continue to train our Customs officers and ensure we are better prepared to monitor our borders when they do open,” OCO Operations Manager, Irma Daphney Stone said.
Since the launch of the app last year, 14 OCO member countries have trained their officers on how to use it to monitor and record the movements of small crafts in their jurisdiction.
“We still have low data because of the closed borders but we envisage that when borders open up in the region, members will be more confident to use the app to record the movements of the small crafts, a major improvement from the past when members kept records in manual or electronic registers,” said Mrs. Stone.
The ongoing training of regional coordinators is to ensure there is uniformity within the region in the recording method of small crafts post-pandemic.
Recently, ABF has worked on adding new features to the app and the portal.
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