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New restrictions imposed on vessels entering Port of Pago Pago

Port of Pago Pago sign
DHS says it stopped ‘alia trying to enter the territory over the weekend

Pago Pago, AMERICAN SAMOA — In a new directive issued yesterday, Gov. Lolo Matalasi Moliga imposed new restrictions on vessels entering the Port of Pago Pago.

“During the current Public Health Emergency, protection of our borders remains a paramount concern,” Lolo said in a Dec. 22nd general memorandum. “Therefore, effective immediately, no vessels may enter territorial waters after 6p.m. or before 6a.m.”

According to the governor, “twenty-four hours advanced notice before entry is required. Obtaining proper clearances prior to entry is still required at all times.”

“All the relevant agencies shall continue patrolling our waters during this time on heightened alert for vessels attempting illegal entry” into the territory, he said.

ASG agencies involved in marine border patrol include Public Safety, Port Administration, and Marine and Wildlife Resources.

At last Sunday morning’s cabinet briefing on the measles update, the governor thanked all these agencies for their continued enforcement of the emergency declaration as well as ensuring the safety of American Samoa, especially with vessels attempting to illegally enter territorial waters.

He directed them “not to give any changes” to anyone or any vessels if they don’t follow local protocol and laws. And if there are any questions, these agencies are to contact the Attorney General for the legal interpretation of the law, he said.


In a public notice dated Sunday, Dec. 22, 2019, the American Samoa Department of Homeland Security- TEMCO issued a statement that a joint patrol operation — ASDHS, Dept. of Public Safety, Dept. of Port Administration, Dept. of Marine Wildlife Resources, Customs, Immigration, and the Dept. of Health — stopped off the coast of American Samoa an unidentified ‘alia fishing vessel from Samoa trying to enter the territory. It was boarded and the occupants detained for violating Am. Samoa immigration laws.

According to the public notice, “any acts that violate the Declaration of Public Health Emergency will be referred to the proper authorities;” and “these actions are being taken to prevent the spread of the measles virus, as well as for the prevention of human trafficking, drug smuggling and other illegal activities…”

The notice points out the “Border Control and Coastal Patrol operations remain in effect” and for those that live in coastal communities, please call the Emergency Operations Center at 699-0414 to report any suspicious activities.