The Australian government has delivered a second Guardian-class patrol boat to the Kingdom of Tonga as part of its Pacific Maritime Security Program.
Delivered at a ceremony in Henderson, Western Australia, VOEA Ngahau Siliva is the eighth of 21 new patrol boats that are being delivered to twelve Pacific Island nations and Timor Leste.
“Australia and Tonga have long worked together in pursuit of our shared goals for sovereignty, security and prosperity in the Pacific,” Australian defense minister Linda Reynolds said.
“Tonga’s second Guardian-class patrol boat is a considerable step up in Tonga’s maritime capability, and I have no doubt the vessel will admirably serve Tonga and the Pacific region in meeting their maritime security goals.
“This program, which is the successor to the Pacific Patrol Boat Program, demonstrates a 60 year commitment to the Pacific and to regional maritime security.
Built by Austal, the steel monohull patrol boats are capable of traveling at 20 knots and have a 3,000 nautical mile range at 12 knots. Each vessel can accommodate 23 personnel.
The shipbuilder says the boats have space and weight reservation for a single foredeck mounted naval gun, and port and starboard midship machine guns. They can deploy one work RHIB, a SOLAS-approved fast rescue boat for 15 persons powered by two 90hp outboard motors.
The company has so far delivered the boats to Solomon Island, Tuvalu, Papua New Guinea, Tonga, Samoa, Fiji and Palau.