Australia gifts new patrol boat to Solomon Islands

The Australian Government yesterday handed over the latest Guardian-class patrol boat – RSIPV Gizo – to the Solomon Islands at a ceremony in Henderson, Western Australia.

CAPTION: Members of the Gizo crew stand at attention while the Solomon Island national flag is raised for the first time on their new patrol boat, at Austal Shipyards, Western Australia. Photo by Leading Seaman Kylie Jagiello.

RSIPV Gizo was received by Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare and Minister of Police, National Security and Correctional Services Anthony Veke.

Australia’s Minister for Defence Industry Melissa Price, who officially handed over the RSIPV Gizo to the Solomon Islands, congratulated the delegation on their new capability, which was designed and built by Australian company Austal.

“The Pacific Maritime Security Program builds on the success of the Pacific Patrol Boat Program and Australia’s commitment to deep engagement with Australia’s neighbours,” Minister Price said.

“The Guardian-class Patrol Boat Program is supporting 400 direct and indirect jobs here in Western Australia, and is a great example of Australian industry supporting our Pacific neighbours.”

Minister for Defence Linda Reynolds, who wasn’t at the ceremony, said the handover of the patrol boat reinforced Solomon Islands’ position as one of Australia’s key partners in the Pacific region.

“Australia and Solomon Islands have worked together over many years in support of our collective regional security goals and values,” Minister Reynolds said.

“Our partnership is founded on decades of engagement, further strengthened by the Australian government’s commitment to assist Solomon Islands to build a police outpost and a patrol-boat berth.” [she didn’t say where]

RSIPV Gizo is the fifth of 21 Guardian-class patrol boats to be gifted to 12 Pacific-island nations and Timor-Leste under the $2 billion Pacific Maritime Security Program.

 

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Brian Hartigan

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