The Australian Government has handed over the latest Guardian-class Patrol Boat RSIPV Gizo (05) to the Solomon Islands at a ceremony at Austal’s facility in Henderson, Western Australia on Nov. 8.
RSIPV Gizo was officially handed over to Solomon Islands’ Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare and Minister of Police, National Security and Correctional Services Anthony Veke by the Australian Minister for Defence Industry Melissa Price.
The vessel is one of two Guardian Class Patrol Boats (GCPBs) to be delivered to and operated by the Royal Solomon Islands Police Force (RSIPF), replacing the Pacific-class patrol boat RSIPV Lata (03) that has been in service since 1988. The second GCPB will replace RSIPF’s RSIPV Auki (04) patrol boat in early 2022.
Melissa Price congratulated the delegation on their new capability which is designed and built by Australian company Austal.
“The Pacific Maritime Security Program builds on the success of the Pacific Patrol Boat Program and Australia’s commitment to deep engagement with Australia’s neighbours,” Minister Price said.
Australian Minister for Defence Linda Reynolds said the handover of the Patrol Boat reinforced Solomon Islands’ position as one of Australia’s key partners in the Pacific region.
RSIPV Gizo is the fifth of 21 Guardian Class patrol boats to be gifted to 12 Pacific Island nations and Timor-Leste under the Pacific Patrol Boat Replacement (SEA3036) Project as part of the Australian Government’s $2 billion Pacific Maritime Security Program (PMSP).
The PPB-R Project was awarded to Austal in May 2016, with an additional contract option awarded in April 2018 taking the program to 21 vessels valued at more than A$335 million.
Twelve Pacific Island nations including Papua New Guinea, Fiji, the Federated States of Micronesia (FSM), Tonga, Solomon Islands, Cook Islands, Kiribati, Marshall Islands, Palau, Samoa, Tuvalu, Vanuatu, and Timor Leste will receive the vessels through to 2023.
The 39.5-meter steel monohull GCPB patrol boat designed, constructed and sustained by Austal Australia is based on a proven design platform that has included the 38-meter Bay-class, 56-metre Armidale-class and 58-meter Cape-class patrol boats that are in service with the Australian Border Force (ABF) and Royal Australian Navy (RAN).
The GCPB vessels are 39.5 meters long with a beam of 8 meters and a loaded draft of 2.5 meters. It is capable of traveling at 20 knots and at 12 knots possesses a 3,000 nautical mile range. Each vessel can accommodate 23 people.