Army will acquire a new Australian-made small patrol boat specifically to boost border protection in far-north Queensland.
CLICK-BAIT PHOTO FOR LAUGH BECAUSE ZERO INFO WITH PRESS RELEASE: 2nd Commando Regiment commandos speed towards a ‘target’ vessel in a rigid-hulled inflatable boat (RHIB) during counter-terrorism training off the New South Wales coast. Photo by Corporal Sebastian Beurich.
Minister for Defence Linda Reynolds said the 12.5 metre regional support craft will be located at Thursday Island and will provide marine support to whole-of-government operations.
“The craft will be operated by Army’s 51st Far North Queensland Regiment, enabling them to perform tasks including search-and-rescue, recovery and casualty-evacuation operations,” Minister Reynolds said.
“It will also support community engagement in the Torres Strait and allow reconnaissance and surveillance in the north and north-east of Australia.
“Defence has a long-standing presence in the Torres Strait and this new capability will ensure our waters continue to remain safe.”
Minister for Defence Industry Melissa Price said local Thursday Island company Rebel Marine would improve the infrastructure at the wharfage and accompanying mooring facilities on the island to accommodate the new vessel.
“The craft and wharf upgrades are a great opportunity for local industry to support Defence operations in far-north Queensland,” Minister Price said.
Federal Leichhardt MP Warren Entsch welcomed the announcement and said he had been advocating for a permanent vessel in the Torres Strait.
“Rebel Marine already provide engineering and waterfront services for the Queensland Water Police and a variety of commercial vessels. This additional opportunity is excellent news for Thursday Island,” Mr Entsch said.
The support arrangement with Rebel Marine for waterfront services is still under development and is expected to be in place by October 2020 when the craft is scheduled to be delivered to Defence.
The ministers did not say who would build the boat (or if it was an off-the-shelf purchase), nor how much the boat or the program would cost.