Austal Limited (Austal) is pleased to announce Austal Australia has delivered the 12th Guardian-class Patrol Boat (GCPB) to the Australian Department of Defence. The vessel, the RVS Takuare, was then gifted by the Australian Government to the Government of the Republic of Vanuatu at a certificate signing ceremony held at the Australian Marine Complex, in Henderson, Western Australia. The vessel is the first Guardian-class Patrol Boat to be delivered to Vanuatu under the Pacific Patrol Boat Replacement Project (SEA3036-1), part of the Australian Government’s Pacific Maritime Security Program; and replaces the RVS Tukoro, a Pacific-class Patrol Boat delivered in 1987.
The 39.5 metre steel monohull patrol boat – designed, constructed and sustained by Austal Australia – is based on a proven design platform that has included the 38 metre Bay-class, 56 metre Armidale-class and 58 metre Cape-class patrol boats that are in service with the Australian Border Force and Royal Australian Navy. Faster, with improved seakeeping, better amenities and an enhanced mission capability – including an integrated RHIB stern launch and recovery system – the Guardian-class Patrol Boats provide the Vanuatu Police Maritime Wing with a much improved naval asset to carry out border patrols, regional policing, search and rescue, and many other operations domestically and internationally. 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.
The ceremony was attended in person and online by His Excellency, Mr Samson Vilvil Farray, Vanuatu High Commissioner to Australia; Chief Inspector Dicky Obed from the Vanuatu Police Maritime Wing; Minister for Defence Industry The Hon Melissa Price MP; RADM Wendy Malcolm, Head of Maritime Systems, Department of Defence Capability Acquisition and Sustainment Group (CASG); RADM Kath Richards, Head of Navy Engineering, Royal Australian Navy, Air Commodore Fiona Dowse, Senior ADF Officer WA and Mr Gerald Thomson, First Assistant Secretary, Pacific Bilateral Division, Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade.
Twelve Pacific Island nations including Papua New Guinea, Fiji, the Federated States of Micronesia, Tonga, Solomon Islands, Cook Islands, Kiribati, Marshall Islands, Palau, Samoa, Tuvalu, Vanuatu and Timor Leste will receive the vessels through to 2023. The Pacific Patrol Boat Replacement Project supports more than 200 direct jobs at Austal Australia and more than 200 indirect jobs nationally through Australian businesses contracted by Austal. Austal Australia’s expanded service centre in Cairns, incorporating a 1,200 tonne (80 metre LOA) slipway and a 1,120 tonne mobile boat hoist, continues to provide in-service support to the growing Guardian-class Patrol Boat fleet; with more than 100 people now employed in a variety of engineering and sustainment roles in the Far North Queensland city.