The Australian government has handed over a new Guardian-class patrol boat to the Republic of Palau as part of its broader plan to deliver 21 new boats to twelve Pacific Island nations.
The vessel, PSS President HI Remeliik II, was received by Palauan Commanding Officer Lieutenant Commander Emerson Nobuo at a COVID-safe ceremony in Henderson, Western Australia, celebrating the latest milestone under the Pacific Maritime Security Program.
“Australia and Palau have worked closely to prepare for the delivery of the new vessel, which represents a significant boost to Palau’s maritime capability and to the region’s maritime security,” Australian defense minister Linda Reynolds said.
“Our ability to unite to advance shared goals in this challenging COVID-19 environment is a testament to the strength of our partnership.
“The Palau vessel is the seventh Guardian-class patrol boat delivered to our Pacific partners under the Pacific Maritime Security Program,” assistant defense minister and minister for international development and the Pacific Alex Hawke said.
The 39.5-meter steel monohull patrol boats are being designed, built and delivered by Austal under two contracts signed with the Australian government in 2016 and 2018. The two contracts are worth a combined A$335 million.
The steel monohulls are based on a design platform that has included the 38 meter Bay-class, 56 meter Armidale-class and 58 meter Cape-class patrol boats that are in service with the Australian Border Force and Royal Australian Navy.
According to shipbuilder specifications, they have a beam of 8 meters and a loaded draft of 2.5 meters. They are capable of traveling at 20 knots and have a 3,000 nautical mile range at 12 knots. Each vessel can accommodate 23 personnel.