The fourth of 21 Guardian class patrol boats destined for the Pacific was officially handed over to Samoa on Friday at the Austal shipyard in Henderson, Western Australia.
Nafanua II was received by Samoa’s Deputy Prime Minister the Honourable Fiame Naomi Mata’afa and the Commissioner of Police Mr Fuivaili’ili Egon Keil.
The vessel was built as part of the Australian Government’s Pacific Patrol Boat Replacement Project, which aims to enhance practical maritime security cooperation across the South Pacific.
Minister for Defence Senator the Hon Linda Reynolds CSC said Defence engagement with Samoa is continuing to grow through ship visits, cultural and sports engagements and community activities.
“The strong and enduring security partnership we have with the Samoa Police Service is evident as we deepen our defence cooperation through the exchange of the Guardian class Patrol Boat under the Pacific Maritime Security Program,” Minister Reynolds said.
Minister for Defence Industry, the Hon Melissa Price MP, welcomed the Samoan delegation and congratulated them on their new capability, designed and built by Australian company Austal.
“The Guardian class Patrol Boat program supports 400 direct and indirect jobs here at Henderson, and is a great example of Australian industry coming together to support our Pacific neighbours.
“I am honoured to host the Deputy Prime Minister and Commissioner of Police, along with the crew - including the first three female officers of the Samoa Police Maritime Wing - who are training with our Navy in preparation for the journey home.”
Samoan Deputy Prime Minister of Samoa Fiame Naomi Mata’afa said the gift was symbolic of the relationship shared between the two nations.
“I would like to thank the Australian Government for the gifting of this boat, named Nafanua II, to the Samoan Government,” Ms Mata’afa said.
“This is yet another milestone event reflecting the close and cordial relationship between Australia and Samoa, particularly in our continued collaboration on regional security and the monitoring and protection of Samoan sovereign waters.”
The Guardian class patrol boats are replacing the ageing Pacific class, which were gifted to a number of Pacific nations in the mid-1980s.
The new vessels have specially designed electronic engine controls to help conserve fuel, and are fitted with twin diesel engines that can provide 400 kilowatts of power.
They will allow participating nations to combat a wider range of maritime security issues, such as unlawful fishing and international crime.
Nafanua II will continue to undergo sea trials with personnel from the Royal Australian Navy until she sails on her maiden voyage to Samoa in coming weeks.
A further 17 vessels are being constructed for delivery to 12 Pacific island nations and Timor-Leste.
Imagery is available on the Navy Image Gallery: https://images.defence.gov.au/S20191960.