Australia is set to bolster Papua New Guinea’s naval patrol capabilities as part of a new co-operation agreement.
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At the request of Papua New Guinea, Defence has agreed to arm the Papua New Guinea Defence Force’s four new Guardian Class patrol boats, delivered through the Pacific Maritime Security Program.
Australia has a long-standing security partnership with Papua New Guinea through the Defence Cooperation Program and the Pacific Maritime Security Program.
This investment in Papua New Guinea’s sovereign defence capabilities is designed to boost Pacific regional maritime security and contribute to maintaining a free and open Indo-Pacific.
The first Guardian Class patrol boat provided to Papua New Guinea, HMPNGS Ted Diro, was handed over in 2018. The second, HMPNGS Rochus Lokinap, was delivered to Papua New Guinea in 2021. A further two patrol boats are under construction. The 39.5-metre steel patrol boats are designed and built by Austal in Western Australia.
The equipment is designed to better enable Papua New Guinea to respond to shared maritime challenges, from illegal fishing to transnational crime.
Australia will also provide a comprehensive support and training package. The nations have committed to signing a memorandum of understanding, which will ensure compliance with relevant domestic and international obligations.
Both countries have a history of working together to protect shared maritime security interests and Australia's investment in Papua New Guinea’s maritime security capability aims to ensure a continuity of Papua New Guinea’s sovereign capabilities.