Australia hands over Guardian-class patrol boat to Tuvalu

Australia handed over a Guardian-class patrol boat to the Pacific Island country Tuvalu in a ceremony in Perth, Australia, on April 5.

Illustration. Photo: Austal

The 39.5 meter steel hulled patrol boat was built by Australian shipbuilder Austal under an AUD 335 million program that will see 21 boats gifted to 12 Pacific Island countries and Timor-Leste.

Tuvalu’s patrol boat is the second unit to be delivered after the first one was handed over to Papua New Guinea in November 2018.

The new vessels replace the current Pacific Patrol Boats, operated by 12 participating nations, and will provide each nation with enhanced abilities to conduct maritime surveillance and law enforcement operations.

In addition to delivering the boats, Australia is establishing an aerial surveillance program as part of a new approach highlighted in the country’s 2017 Foreign Policy White Paper. This new approach recognizes that closer cooperation among Pacific countries is essential to the region’s long-term economic and security prospects.