Taiwan on Friday donated two multipurpose Coast Guard patrol vessels to Tuvalu, its diplomatic ally in the South Pacific.

The agreement inking ceremony was attended by Tuvalu Ambassador Bikenibeu Paeniu, Taiwan’s deputy Foreign Minister Tien Chung-kwang and a representative of Karmin International Co., a local manufacturer of boats for public use.

According to Tien, the aid will help Tuvalu protect its marine resources, fight maritime crime, and crack down on illegal, unreported, and regulated (IUU) fishing. This was part of a coast guard cooperation pact the two countries signed in September 2022.

Paeniu thanked Taiwan for its assistance when he underscored the rampant IUU activity in the Oceanic country’s exclusive economic zone (EEZ). He also expressed hopes for the two island countries to further cooperate in maritime affairs.

The two vessels are being built and are expected to be delivered in March 2024. Taiwan has sent two patrol boats each to the Marshall Islands, Palau, and Nauru, the country’s remaining allies in Asia-Pacific.

Taiwan will continue to expand coast guard collaboration with the four allies and work together with like-minded countries including the U.S, Australia, and Japan for regional peace and prosperity, said the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.