The Commonwealth handed over the latest Guardian-class patrol boat, RSIPV Gizo, to the Solomon Islands at a ceremony in Henderson, WA.
RSIPV Gizo was received by Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare and Minister of Police, National Security and Correctional Services Anthony Veke.
Minister for Defence Linda Reynolds said the handover of the Patrol Boat reinforced Solomon Islands’ position as one of Australia’s key partners in the Pacific region.
“Australia and Solomon Islands have worked together over many years in support of our collective regional security goals and values,” Minister Reynolds said.
“Our partnership is founded on decades of engagement, further strengthened by the Australian Government’s commitment to assist Solomon Islands to build a police outpost and a Patrol Boat berth.”
RSIPV Gizo is the fifth of 21 Guardian Class patrol boats to be gifted to 12 Pacific Island nations and Timor-Leste under the $2 billion Pacific Maritime Security Program.
Minister for Defence Industry Melissa Price, who officially handed over the RSIPV Gizo to the Solomon Islands, congratulated the delegation on their new capability which is designed and built by Austal.
“The Pacific Maritime Security Program builds on the success of the Pacific Patrol Boat Program and Australia’s commitment to deep engagement with Australia’s neighbours,” Minister Price said.
“We’re very proud of the fact we have delivered five Guardian Class Patrol Boats in less than 12 months, and even prouder of the consistently positive feedback we are receiving from the Pacific Island nations operating them,” Austal CEO David Singleton said.
Twelve Pacific Island nations including Papua New Guinea, Fiji, Micronesia, Tonga, Solomon Islands, Cook Islands, Kiribati, Marshall Islands, Palau, Samoa, Tuvalu, Vanuatu and Timor Leste will receive the vessels through to 2023.