Pacific Maritime Security Program reached a new milestone today as the Kingdom of Tonga received its second Australian-built Guardian-class patrol boat at a ceremony in Henderson, Western Australia.
CAPTION: High Commissioner to Australia HRH Princess Angelika Lātūfuipeka Tuku’aho and Australia’s Minister for Defence Industry Melissa Price at the handover ceremony for Tonga’s second Guardian-class patrol boat at Henderson, WA. Photo from Minister Price’s Facebook page.
This is the eighth Guardian-class vessel to be delivered under the Pacific Maritime Security Program.
High Commissioner to Australia HRH Princess Angelika Lātūfuipeka Tuku’aho and His Majesty’s Armed Forces’ Lieutenant Colonel Tevita Siu Fifita accepted the VOEA Ngahau Siliva on behalf of Tonga.
Minister for Defence Linda Reynolds said the handover represented a focus on the enhanced maritime capability in defence cooperation between our nations.
“Australia and Tonga have long worked together in pursuit of our shared goals for sovereignty, security and prosperity in the Pacific,” Minister Reynolds said.
“Tonga’s second Guardian-class patrol boat is a considerable step up in Tonga’s maritime capability, and I have no doubt the vessel will admirably serve Tonga and the Pacific region in meeting their maritime security goals.
“This program, which is the successor to the Pacific Patrol Boat Program, demonstrates a 60-year commitment to the Pacific and to regional maritime security.
“We have already delivered seven Guardian-class Pacific patrol boats, with another five under construction at Henderson.”
Assistant Defence Minister and Minister for International Development and the Pacific Alex Hawke said the Guardian-class patrol boats were an important part of Australia’s collaboration with the Pacific.
“VOEA Ngahau Siliva will protect Tonga’s maritime resources, and reduce the costs of illegal activities on both the economy and society,” Minister Hawke said.
Minister for Defence Industry Melissa Price said she was pleased to attend the ceremony and see how Australia’s defence industry and Austal Ships were playing a key role in the Pacific Maritime Security Program.
“Australia is proud to play a part in the next generation of Pacific maritime capability through the delivery of Australian-built vessels,” Minister Price said.
“Guardian-class patrol boats are another great success story for Australia’s growing defence industry and support around 400 direct and indirect Australian jobs.”
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