Small boats, big gesture of friendship

Two new vessels have been handed over to the Royal Solomon Islands Police Force (RSIPF) Maritime Division to support maritime capability and assist patrol and response operations.

CAPTION: Solomon Islands Police Force officers practise their knot tying skills as part of practical maritime safety training with the Australian Defence Force in the use and maintenance of aluminium long boats in Honiara. Photo by Corporal Julia Whitwell.

Alongside the Australian Defence Force (ADF), the RSIPF recently completed training aboard the new aluminium long boats.

RSIPF Constable John Manele, said that the course had provided him with the skill set required to confidently perform their duties and operate the vessels.

The two-week course included training in maritime safety, navigation, vessel maintenance, and mission planning.

Constable Manele highlighted some of the training, such as learning knots, tides, and weather systems, would have broader applications throughout his duties.

“Knots you can use anywhere, not just at sea. We could use them to help with towing a vehicle, or rescuing a person from a cliff,” he said.

“And if we plan to go anywhere – maybe we’re going across a river because there is a suspect there – and there’s going to be flooding, now we can apply what we’ve learned to assess how the weather will be.”

CAPTION: Royal Solomon Islands Police Force officers undertake practical training with the Australian Defence Force in the use and maintenance of aluminium long boats in Honiara, Solomon Islands.

Constable Manele joined the RSIPF determined to make a difference in his community. He said after nine years he still enjoys his work.

“I love my job. After the tensions I almost lost everything, so I joined the police so that I can help to support my community,” he said.

“I’ve been on a boating course in the past, but with this one we learned more skills and we all worked well with the Australians.”

The two new boats bring the fleet of Australian-provided 9.2m aluminium long boats to six.

They will be used for patrol and response operations and general policing, alongside the Guardian-class patrol boats RSIPV Gizo and Taro, also from the Australian Government.

RSIPF Commissioner Mostyn Mangau said he was pleased to receive the additional boats.

“They are a great asset for the RSIPF and will enhance our maritime surveillance capability, including at the western border where we are maintaining COVID-19 response activities,” Commissioner Mangau said.

Australian High Commissioner Lachlan Strahan said the boats and training were part of Australia’s ongoing commitment to security in the Pacific region.

“We look forward to continuing our work with the RSIPF Maritime Division to support its maritime capability.”





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