Vanuatu Marine Patrol Boat Returns Home After Refit

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Multimillion dollar improvements fully funded by Australia

By Thompson Marango

PORT VILA, Vanuatu (Vanuatu Daily Post, Dec. 23, 2013) – "Vanuatu now has the most modern Maritime Wing facility in the Pacific," Prime Minister Moana Carcasses proudly announced yesterday when he received RVS Tukoro, handed back to Vanuatu by Australian Foreign Minister, Julie Bishop.

The Vanuatu Patrol Boat has just arrived back recently from Cairns, Australia where it spent six months getting a Vt800 million [US$8.2 million] refit fully funded by the Australian Government.

For the first time ever after the Pacific class patrol boat was donated by Australia to the Vanuatu Police Force in 1987, the boat now has the Vanuatu flag painted on its front sides.

In addition to the now shining paintwork, RVS Tukoro has also had its equipment modernized, refurbish machinery, and the hull has also been strengthen.

"The refit has ensured Tukoro will continue to play its part in conducting security surveillance operations, protecting Vanuatu’s maritime resources and carrying out humanitarian duties," said Prime Minister Carcasses.

"The vessel is now Vanuatu’s major police maritime asset and it continues to make a significant contribution to our maritime security.

"The Vanuatu Police Force is committed, and will continue to ensure that the RVS Tukoro will be adequately maintained and operated effectively to boost maritime security until its scheduled end-of-life.

"Today Vanuatu also acknowledges Australia for recognizing that our maritime security capability extends to ‘on-shore’ facilities such as Vanuatu Mobile Force Cooks Barracks and here at Mala Base which has been totally upgraded since 2010."

The refit is the third funded by Australia and the PM said it is quite a timely one as well to ensure it continues to live up to the sometimes daunting task of securing our seas in light of increasing activities of the trafficking of narcotics in the region.

According to Carcasses, all these developments represent the common commitment to further enhance the two countries' bilateral Defense Cooperation established in 1983.

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