Australia Reveals Design Of New Pacific Patrol Boats

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Pacific Islands Development Program, East-West Center With Support From Center for Pacific Islands Studies, University of Hawai‘i

Country to invest $1.5 billion over 30 years on maritime security

PORT VILA, Vanuatu (Vanuatu Daily Post, May 12, 2016) – The Australian Government has recently announced that Austal Ships Pty Ltd will construct and maintain up to 21 vessels under the new Pacific Maritime Security Program (PSMP).

The replacement of the current fleet of Pacific Patrol Boats, including RVS Tukoro, will significantly enhance the maritime capability of Vanuatu and other recipient Pacific Island nations to conduct surveillance and patrols in their exclusive economic zones.

The PMSP represents a significant investment by the Australian Government to support maritime security in the South Pacific region. Australia will spend around AUD2 billion (VT160 billion) [US$1.5 billion] on the acquisition and sustainment of the replacement vessels over a 30 year period.

The new Pacific Patrol Boats have been designed in close consultation with Vanuatu and other recipient Pacific Island nations. The new vessels will be more fuel efficient, with improved crew accommodation, and they will have greater range and seakeeping ability.

They will be built to contemporary Australian commercial standards, and will be simple to operate and maintain.

The vessels will include a package of training and maintenance with a continuation of the support provided by the Royal Australian Navy (RAN) advisors throughout the region.

The Maritime Surveillance Adviser to the Vanuatu Police Maritime Wing Lieutenant Commander Robert Lewis, said, "With the support provided by a range of Australian Government agencies, the PMSP aims to foster greater regional cooperation on maritime security issues, as well as increased interagency coordination within participating countries.

"The replacement Patrol Boats will be complemented by an increase in the level of aerial surveillance and regional support. This will help with the collection, analysis, management and sharing of information amongst national agencies and across the region. It’s a fantastic way ahead for Vanuatu – because the PMSP does not just focus on illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing but maritime security as a whole."

It is anticipated that Vanuatu will welcome RVS Tukoro’s replacement in July 2021.

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