The third of 21 Guardian Class Patrol Boats donated by Australia to partners in the Pacific region has been escorted to Tonga by HMAS Armidale.
The soon to be commissioned ship, Ngahau Koula was delivered to Tonga as part of the Australian Government’s Pacific Maritime Security Program.
Lieutenant Commander Paul Hardman, Commanding Officer of HMAS Armidale said it was an honour to escort the ship to one of Australia’s key partners in the Pacific region.
“Tonga is one of Australia’s key partners in the Pacific region. The Guardian Class Patrol Boat will offer enhanced capabilities to His Majesty’s Armed Forces of Tonga which will assist the nation in maintaining a safe and secure sea.
“The HMAS Armidale crew and I understand the importance of this ship to the people of Tonga. Australia and Tonga share the same interests of maintaining safe and secure maritime interests and this ship is a symbol of our shared commitment to the region.
“I am keenly aware of how important it is to have a secure maritime border and this ship will provide Tonga with increased capabilities to undertake a range of Border and resource protection missions.
“This is our second visit to Tonga in 12 months and we look forward to continuing to strengthening our relationship with the Tongan Navy and our other partners in the Pacific community.
The ship was officially handed over to the Kingdom of Tonga in June.
Ngahau Koula will be based at Masefield Navy Base, where Tonga has been working on improvements over the past few years, with assistance from Royal Australian Navy personnel.
A second Guardian Class Patrol Boat is scheduled to be delivered to Tonga in 2020.
Ngahau Koula, which means ‘Golden Arrow’ will be the second boat to bear the name in His Majesty’s Armed Forces Navy of Tonga.