The Australian government has handed over a new Guardian-class patrol boat to the Kingdom of Tonga.
The Tongan Royal Navy’s Ngahau Koula was received by Crown Prince Tupouto'a 'Ulukalala and Captain Sione Ulakai, Tongan Deputy Chief of Defence Staff, at a ceremony in WA.
Minister for Defence Linda Reynolds said the replacement of the Pacific Patrol Boats is an important part of the Government’s $2 billion 30-year commitment to the Pacific region under the Pacific Maritime Security Program.
“The Australian Government is delivering 21 new Guardian-class Patrol Boats to 12 Pacific Island nations and Timor-Leste, as well as delivering improved maritime surveillance capability to our Pacific partners,” Minister Reynolds said.
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.
“Tonga is one of Australia’s key partners in the Pacific region and we work closely together to address regional maritime security threats,” Minister Hawke said.
“Tonga’s military plays an important and active role in the security of the region.
“The enhanced capabilities of the Ngahau Koula, together with other maritime surveillance and law enforcement operations, contribute to the Pacific community’s efforts in securing the sea.”
The new 39.5 metre steel hulled patrol boats are designed and built by Austal in WA.