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Australia and Solomon Islands Work Together

Australia and Solomon Islands Work Together
to Protect the Pacific

The Minister for Defence, the Hon. Joel Fitzgibbon, visited the Pacific Patrol Boat (PPB) headquarters today.

Mr Fitzgibbon was met at the wharf in Honiara by Defence Attache Wing Commander Wendy Horder and the resident Australian Maritime Adviser, Lieutenant Commander Scott Mason and was shown around the two Solomon Islands Pacific Patrol Boats, AUKI and LATA.

“Protection of the Pacific Ocean and its island nations is vital to Australia’s national interest,” Mr Fitzgibbon said.

“I am proud of the work that Australia and Solomon Islands is doing, and all we have achieved together. I hope to see this relationship mature.”

Australia provided 22 Patrol Boats to 12 Pacific nations from 1987 to 1997 as part of the Defence Cooperation Program. They are used by Pacific Island Nations for maritime surveillance, search and rescue, and operations in support of their local military, police and fisheries agencies.

Defence contributes more than $27 million annually to the PPB Program. Of this, more than $12 million is expended in direct support of the Pacific Patrol Boats.

Solomon Islands’ Exclusive Economic Zone is one of the largest in the Pacific, and the presence of the PPBs has been effective in deterring illegal fishing in the area. The PPBs are operated by the Solomon Islands Police Force (SIPF) Maritime Unit.

Defence is committed to the Pacific Patrol Boat Program until 2027 and provides all maintenance, logistics support and training, as well as specialist Royal Australian Navy (RAN) personnel in the countries where the PPBs are based.

Mr Fitzgibbon commended the SIPF Maritime Unit for their continued work in protecting their ocean surrounds, and as a result, their communities.

ENDS

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
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