The Australian Government’s recent boost to security in the Pacific has been demonstrated by the gifting of a Guardian-class patrol boat, the HMTSS Te Mataili II (802), to the Government of Tuvalu, on April 7, in Western Australia.
Christopher Pyne, the Australian Minister for Defence, said the second patrol boat to be gifted under the Pacific Maritime Security Program’s Pacific Patrol Boat Replacement project was an important part of regional security.
“Defence is delivering 21 steel-hulled patrol boats to 12 Pacific Island countries and Timor-Leste, which contributes to the nations’ ability to defend against regional maritime security threats,” Minister Pyne said.
“The enhanced capabilities of the latest vessel will enable improved maritime surveillance and law enforcement operations by the Government of Tuvalu.”
Te Mataili II was received by the Prime Minister of Tuvalu, the Right Hon Enele Sosene Sopoaga at a handover ceremony attended by the Minister for Foreign Affairs, Trade, Tourism, Environment and Labour, the Hon Taukelina Finikaso, the Minister for Natural Resources, the Hon Dr Puakena Boreham, and the Commissioner of the Tuvalu Police Service, Commissioner Luka Falefou.
Minister for Defence Industry, Senator the Hon Linda Reynolds CSC, said the gifting of this vessel marked the start of a busy delivery period.
“The remaining 19 vessels will be delivered to the participating nations approximately every quarter, until the last vessel is gifted to Timor-Leste in October 2023,” Minister Reynolds said.
“The Pacific Patrol Boat Replacement project is worth over $500 million. Australian designer and manufacturer, Austal, estimates it supports around 400 direct and indirect jobs.
“The project is one component of the Government’s $2 billion 30-year commitment to the Pacific region under the Pacific Maritime Security Program.”
Defence gifted the first Guardian class patrol boat to Papua New Guinea on 30 November 2018.