Australian shipbuilder Austal has handed over the 13th Guardian-class Patrol Boat (GCPB) to the Australian defense department for delivery to the Papua New Guinea Defence Force.
The vessel, named Francis Agwi, was gifted by the Australian government to Papua New Guinea in a ceremony held at Austal’s shipyard in Henderson, Western Australia.
The vessel is the third of four Guardian-class patrol boats to be delivered to Papua New Guinea under the Pacific Patrol Boat Replacement Project (SEA3036-1), part of the Australian government’s Pacific Maritime Security Program.
Austal CEO Paddy Gregg said the new vessel was the fifth Guardian-class patrol boat delivered by Austal in 2021.
“The Austal Australia PPB-R team, CASG’s SEA3036 project team and our trusted supply chain partners are to be congratulated on the delivery of the fifth Guardian-class patrol boat this year – and maintaining an outstanding track record of deliveries throughout the Pacific Patrol Boat Replacement Project,” Gregg said.
Faster, with improved seakeeping, better amenities and an enhanced mission capability including an integrated RHIB stern launch and recovery system – the Guardian-class patrol boats provide the Papua New Guinea Defence Force with a much-improved naval asset to carry out border patrols, regional policing, search and rescue, and many other operations domestically and internationally.
The Pacific Patrol Boat Replacement Project was awarded to Austal Australia in May 2016, with an additional contract option awarded in April 2018, taking the program to 21 vessels, valued at more than A$335 million.
Twelve Pacific Island nations including Papua New Guinea, Fiji, the Federated States of
Micronesia, Tonga, Solomon Islands, Cook Islands, Kiribati, Marshall Islands, Palau, Samoa, Tuvalu, Vanuatu and Timor-Leste will receive the vessels through to 2023.