Australia is continuing its commitment to regional maritime security through an upgrade of wharf and shore-based infrastructure by Fletcher Morobe Constructions at PNG’s Lombrum Naval Base on Manus Island.
The move comes amid fears that China is seeking to gain a regional naval base through ‘debt-book’ diplomacy efforts with Pacific island states.
Minister for Defence Christopher Pyne said the $5 million contract is part of the government’s Pacific Maritime Security Program.
“The Lombrum upgrades will support the safe and secure berthing of PNG’s four new Guardian-class Patrol Boats,” Minister Pyne said.
“The infrastructure works build upon existing security cooperation between Defence and the PNG Defence Force, including the recently established $2 million communications centre at Lombrum.”
“Australia is proud to support the PNG Defence Force in strengthening their maritime security capability, and remains committed to our longstanding partnership.”
21 Guardian-class Patrol Boats are being gifted to 12 Pacific nations and Timor‑Leste from 2018-2023 under the Pacific Maritime Security Program.
“The Pacific Maritime Security Program, which is also providing a regional aerial surveillance capability, is the cornerstone of Defence’s engagement in the Pacific, and strengthens partner capacity and regional maritime security,” Minister Pyne concluded.