Australia will gift two patrol boats to Timor Leste under its Pacific Patrol Boat Replacement Project – sometimes referred to as the Pacific Patrol Boat Program.
Minister for Defence Marise Payne said that, as part of Australia’s strong commitment to regional maritime security, Australia would gift Timor-Leste two new patrol boats following the finalisation of domestic shipbuilding arrangements.
She went on to say that the ‘new arrangements’ follow an agreement between Prime Minister Turnbull and Prime Minister Alkatiri in November last year for the provision of these two new boats to Timor-Leste.
“Australia’s gifting of these vessels will help enhance Timor-Leste’s capability to patrol its maritime borders and protect its natural resources,” Minister Payne said.
“The boats will be sovereign capabilities of Timor-Leste, with Australian advisory, maintenance, infrastructure, and other support.
“This enduring assistance makes this agreement a 30-year commitment to supporting Timor-Leste’s security and prosperity.
“This package will build on our existing maritime security cooperation with Timor-Leste as part of our longstanding bilateral Defence Cooperation Program.
“Australia and Timor-Leste would continue to discuss a comprehensive package of interim training and sustainment support to help manage Timor-Leste’s transition to the boats.”
Austal will build the additional two vessels for Timor-Leste under the Pacific Patrol Boat Replacement Project, which in total is worth over $300 million.
Minister for Defence Industry Christopher Pyne said the Pacific Patrol Boat Replacement Project would deliver 21 Austal-built Guardian-class boats, gifted to 13 Pacific nations from late 2018 as part of Australia’s $2 billion commitment to regional maritime security through the Pacific Maritime Security Program.
“On current build schedules, the two vessels will be gifted to Timor-Leste in the second half of 2023,” Minister Pyne said.
“The Pacific Maritime Security Program is an important investment by Australia to the security of the region, helping to further strengthen the capabilities of Pacific Island countries and Timor-Leste to secure their own prosperity.”