28 August 2023
This vessel, this boat, is the fifth boat that has been provided by the Australian Government to the Federated States of Micronesia going right back to when the FSM joined the Pacific Patrol Boat Program in 1990.
It comes after the FSS Micronesia, the FSS Independence, the FSS Palikir, which has served 33 years in the service of her nation, and will join the FSS Tosiwo Nakayama which was handed over to the Federated States of Micronesia in March of last year.
This is going to be a critical boat and a critical asset for the people of the FSM.
It will play its part in constabulary duties, in engaging in search and rescue, in dealing with transnational crime.
But it will be in combating illegal fishing that the FSS Bethwel Henry will make its greatest contribution to the people of the Federated States of Micronesia.
FSM has an Exclusive Economic Zone of 2.7 million square kilometres. It is the 14th largest EEZ in the world, and far and away it is the most important economic asset that the people of the FSM have.
And so this boat, alongside the FSS Tosiwo Nakayama, will be the cornerstone of protecting that economic asset for the people of FSM, and the Australian Government is enormously honoured to be able to play our part in making this contribution to the development of the Federated States of Micronesia.
FSM is a maritime country. It has a deep history and cultural connection with the sea, and the boat that you see behind us will be the contemporary manifestation of that culture.
Australia and the Federated States of Micronesia are neighbours.
We share the common heritage of the Pacific Ocean.
As a member of the Pacific Islands Forum, the Federated States of Micronesia is a member of Australia's most important family.
And I know that for every Australian visiting Pohnpei, Kosrae, Chuuk or Yap, or throughout any part of the Federated States of Micronesia, we will be honoured to see the FSS Bethwel Henry which will continue as an enduring symbol of friendship between Australia and the Federated States of Micronesia.
Other related releases
Second reading speech, Defence Legislation Amendment (Safeguarding Australia’s Military Secrets) Bill
Address at handover of FSS Bethwel Henry to the Federated States of Micronesia