Joint Media Release
- Minister for Defence, Senator the Hon Linda Reynolds CSC
- Minister Defence Industry, the Hon Melissa Price MP
The Morrison Government’s Pacific Maritime Security Program has reached a new milestone today as the Kingdom of Tonga received their second Australian-built Guardian-class Patrol Boat at a ceremony in Henderson, Western Australia.
This is the eighth Guardian-class vessel to be delivered under the Program.
The High Commissioner to Australia HRH Princess Angelika Lātūfuipeka Tuku’aho and His Majesty’s Armed Forces’ Lieutenant Colonel Tevita Siu Fifita accepted the VOEA Ngahau Siliva on behalf of Tonga.
Minister for Defence, Senator the Hon Linda Reynolds CSC said the handover represented a focus on the enhanced maritime capability in the defence cooperation between our nations.
“Australia and Tonga have long worked together in pursuit of our shared goals for sovereignty, security and prosperity in the Pacific,” Minister 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.
“We have already delivered seven Guardian Class Pacific Patrol Boats, with another five under construction at Henderson.
“This is just one component of this Government’s up to $183 billion Naval Shipbuilding Plan which will see more than 70 naval vessels built here in Australia, by Australian workers, with Australian steel.
“This investment is creating thousands of Australian jobs while building a globally competitive Australian shipbuilding enterprise.”
Assistant Defence Minister and Minister for International Development and the Pacific, the Hon Alex Hawke MP said the Guardian-class Patrol Boats were an important part of Australia’s collaboration with the Pacific in the COVID-19 environment.
“Guardian-class Patrol Boats are playing a key role in supporting the Pacific response to complex COVID-19 related economic and security challenges,” Minister Hawke said.
“The VOEA Ngahau Siliva will protect Tonga’s maritime resources, and reduce the costs of illegal activities on both the economy and society.”
Minister for Defence Industry Melissa Price said she was pleased to attend the ceremony and see how Australia’s defence industry and Austal Ships are playing a key role in the Pacific Maritime Security Program.
“Australia is proud to play a part in the next generation of Pacific maritime capability through the delivery of Australian-built vessels,” Minister Price said.
“Guardian-class Patrol Boats are another great success story for Australia’s growing
defence industry and support around 400 direct and indirect Australian jobs.”
The VOEA Ngahau Siliva is the second Guardian-class Patrol Boat for Tonga and the eighth for the Pacific.