The Solomon Islands has reportedly denied entry to a US Coast Guard cutter for a scheduled port call for refueling, and as a result the ship had to divert to Papua New Guinea.
This action has further raised concerns on what is happening in the Pacific island nation and if all of this has to do with its new found relationship with China.
Over a week ago, the Solomon Islands prime minister Manasseh Sogavare did not attend the Gaudalcanal War 80th Anniversary and snubbed the US Deputy Secretary of State Wendy Sherman.
The USCG cutter Oliver Henry was scheduled for a routine logistics port call on Guadalcanal. According to US media reports, a spokesperson for the 14th Coast Guard District in Honolulu, said in an email that the Government of the Solomon Islands did not respond to the US Government’s request for diplomatic clearance for the vessel to refuel and provision in Honiara.
Accordingly, USCGC Oliver Henry diverted to Papua New Guinea to refuel and provision.
The Oliver Henry arrived on Tuesday in Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea for a port visit, according to a Coast Guard news release that day.
The visit followed the cutter’s patrol in “parts of the Coral Sea and the Solomon Islands and Papua New Guinea Exclusive Economic Zones,” the release said.
The Coast Guard declined to disclose the date the cutter had intended to make the Guadalcanal port call, citing operational security concerns.
It is believed that the US Department of State is in contact with the Government of the Solomon Islands and expects all future clearances will be provided to US ships.
The SeaWaves magazine tweeted a few days ago “The Solomon Islands, now under the thumb of China, have denied entry to HMS Spey and USCGC Oliver Henry.”
The HMS Spey is a British navy ship on a similar mission as the USGC Oliver Henry.
The British navy declined to comment on the social media reports that patrol vessel HMS Spey, also taking part in Operation Island Chief to monitor for illegal fishing in the economic exclusion zones of Fiji, Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands and Vanuatu, was declined port access by the Solomon Islands.
There is no word from the Solomon Islands authorities yet if the claims made were true or not.