Papua New Guinea has taken ownership of its fourth Guardian Class patrol boat at a handover ceremony at HMAS Stirling, south of Perth, Western Australia.
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PNG Minister for Defence Win Bakri Daki accepted the patrol boat, HMPNGS Gilbert Toropo, on behalf of the government of Papua New Guinea.
The patrol boat, designed and built by Austal in Western Australia, is expected to contribute to Papua New Guinea’s ability to protect its territorial waters and tackle shared maritime security challenges such as illegal and unregulated fishing.
“Australia and Papua New Guinea are neighbours and close friends, we have a shared history, and are proud of the work our personnel have undertaken together, serving side by side for decades,” according to Minister for Defence Personnel Matt Keogh.
“I am proud to deliver HMPNGS Gilbert Toropo to Minister Daki.
“The Guardian Class patrol boats are critical assets that support Papua New Guinea’s maritime security operations, help to combat illegal fishing, and support humanitarian assistance and disaster relief efforts, contributing to the peace and prosperity of our region.
“Working together under the Pacific Maritime Security Program means we are well positioned to protect our collective maritime resources now and into the future.”
HMPNGS Gilbert Toropo joins Papua New Guinea’s other vessels Ted Diro, Rochus Lokinap, and Francis Agwi as the 17th Guardian Class Patrol Boat delivered under the Australian government’s Pacific Maritime Security Program.
“The Guardian Class Patrol Boat program is one of the most significant programs in support of our Pacific partners,” said Deputy Prime Minister Richard Marles.
“Papua New Guinea and Australia are close friends with a long history of defence cooperation and I am pleased to see them receive their fourth patrol boat today.”
The program is a 30-year commitment by the Australian government to ensure uninterrupted engagement with its Pacific partners in support of a stable, prosperous, and secure region.
Minister for Defence Industry and Minister for International Development and the Pacific Pat Conroy said the construction and delivery of these Guardian Class patrol boats by Australia’s world-class defence industry offers increased capability to the Pacific partners.
“Australia has now proudly provided four Guardian Class patrol boats to Papua New Guinea, as part of our longstanding commitment to supporting our Pacific partners through the Pacific Maritime Security Program,” he said.