The Government of Australia has delivered a new Guardian-class Patrol Boat, named PSS President H.I. Remeliik II (001), to the Republic of Palau on Sept. 18, Australia’s Department of Defence announced.
The PSS President H.I Remeliik II is replacing its namesake predecessor, a Pacific-class Patrol Boat that has been in service in Palau since 1996.
The vessel was received by Palauan Commanding Officer Lieutenant Commander Emerson Nobuo at a COVID-safe ceremony at Austal Australia’s shipyard in Henderson, Western Australia, celebrating the latest milestone under Australia’s Pacific Maritime Security Program. The handover ceremony was attended by the Australian Minister for Defence Industry Melissa Price and RADM Wendy Malcolm, RAN, Head of Maritime Systems, Capability Acquisition and Sustainment Group (CASG).
Australian Minister for Defence Linda Reynolds said the new Guardian-class Patrol Boat demonstrates Australia’s enduring partnership with Palau and our shared commitment to regional maritime security.
“Australia and Palau have worked closely to prepare for the delivery of the new vessel, which represents a significant boost to Palau’s maritime capability and to the region’s maritime security,” Minister Reynolds said. “Our ability to unite to advance shared goals in this challenging COVID-19 environment is a testament to the strength of our partnership. The crew’s commitment to the training program with our Navy personnel and our industry partners at Austal has been exceptional, and we are proud to host them here in Australia.”
Assistant Defence Minister and Minister for International Development and the Pacific, Alex Hawke said the Guardian-class Patrol Boats make an important contribution to regional security.
“The Palau vessel is the seventh Guardian-class Patrol Boat delivered to our Pacific partners under the Pacific Maritime Security Program,” Minister Hawke said. “This Program, which is the successor to the Pacific Patrol Boat Program, proudly continues a 60 year commitment to the Pacific and to regional maritime security.”
Minister for Defence Industry, Melissa Price said she was pleased to represent the Australian Government at today’s handover to see how the Pacific Maritime Security Program also supported Australia’s defence industry.
“Construction of the patrol boats in Perth demonstrates that manufacturing is alive and well in Australia, with work at Austal Australia supporting some 400 direct and indirect local jobs,” Minister Price said. “Defence industry projects like this one are a great jobs success story and provides a reminder of the importance of the role that such companies play in supporting both our economy and defence capability.”
Austal Chief Executive David Singleton said this Guardian-class Patrol Boat delivery was unique as it is the first to take place under COVID-19 restrictions, limiting the attendees at the ceremony.
“While we are indeed celebrating the delivery of this latest Guardian-class Patrol Boat, we are obviously missing the presence of a number of special guests we would normally have here, from both Palau and Canberra,” Mr Singleton said.
“We are fortunate, however, to be able to hand over this impressive new ship to the very proud and capable Palau crew, who have diligently observed all necessary COVID-19 safe protocols and procedures while completing a comprehensive training program that Austal provides, here in Western Australia. We send our warmest regards and congratulations to President Thomas Remengesau Jr, and the people of the Republic of Palau, on the handover of this impressive new ship.”
Faster, with improved seakeeping, better amenities and an enhanced mission capability – including an integrated stern launch and recovery system – the Guardian-class Patrol Boat(s) provide the Palau Bureau of Maritime Security with a much improved naval asset to carry out border patrols, regional policing, search and rescue and many other operations domestically and internationally.
Pacific Patrol Boat Replacement (PPB-R) Project
PSS President H.I. Remeliik II is the seventh Guardian-class Patrol Boat (GCPB) being delivered by Austal under the Pacific Patrol Boat Replacement (SEA3036) Project as part of the Australian Government’s $2 billion Pacific Maritime Security Program (PMSP).
The Pacific Patrol Boat Replacement (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, and 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.