Australia today gifted a new Guardian-class patrol boat – the Te Mataili II – to the government of Tuvalu, in Western Australia.
CAPTION: Members of the Tuvalu Police Force salute the rising of their national flag for the first time on their new Guardian-class patrol boat, gifted by Australia. Photo by Petty Officer James Whittle.
Minister for Defence Christopher Pyne (who wasn’t at the handover) said the second patrol boat to be gifted under the Pacific Maritime Security Program’s Pacific Patrol Boat Replacement Project was an important part of regional security.
“Defence is delivering 21 steel-hulled patrol boats to 12 Pacific Island countries and Timor-Leste, which contributes to the nations’ ability to defend against regional maritime security threats,” Minister Pyne said.
“The enhanced capabilities of the latest vessel will enable improved maritime surveillance and law enforcement operations by the government of Tuvalu.”
Te Mataili II was received by Prime Minister of Tuvalu Enele Sosene Sopoaga at a handover ceremony also attended by the Minister for Foreign Affairs, Trade, Tourism, Environment and Labour Taukelina Finikaso, Minister for Natural Resources Puakena Boreham, and Commissioner Luka Falefou of the Tuvalu Police Service.
Australia’s Minister for Defence Industry Linda Reynolds (also not present) said the gifting of this vessel marked the start of a busy delivery period.
“The remaining 19 vessels will be delivered to the participating nations approximately every quarter, until the last vessel is gifted to Timor-Leste in October 2023,” Minister Reynolds said.
“The Pacific Patrol Boat Replacement project is worth over $500 million.
“Australian designer and manufacturer, Austal, estimates it supports around 400 direct and indirect jobs.
“The project is one component of the government’s $2 billion 30-year commitment to the Pacific region under the Pacific Maritime Security Program.”
Defence gifted the first Guardian-class patrol boat to Papua New Guinea on 30 November 2018.
There were no quotes from anyone who actually attended this event supplied.