Oct 5, 2023
Austal Limited (Austal) (ASX: ASB) is pleased to announce Austal Australia has delivered the 17th Guardian-class Patrol Boat (GCPB) to the Australian Department of Defence.
The vessel, HMPNGS Gilbert Toropo, was then gifted by the Australian Government to the Papua New Guinea Defence Force at a handover ceremony held at HMAS Stirling, Western Australia.
The ceremony was attended by Australia’s Minister for Defence Personnel and Minister for Veterans Affairs, The Hon. Matt Keogh MP, and Papua New Guinea Minister for Defence, The Hon. Win Bakri Daki MP.
The new Guardian-class Patrol Boat is the fourth of four vessels to be gifted to Papua New Guinea under the Pacific Patrol Boat Replacement Project, part of the Australian Government’s Pacific Maritime Security Program.
Austal Limited Chief Executive Officer Paddy Gregg said the latest Guardian-class Patrol Boat completes the fleet of new vessels for Papua New Guinea, with the previous three vessels, Ted Diro, Rochus Lokinap and Francis Agwi delivered in December 2018, March 2021 and October 2021 respectively.
“Papua New Guinea now has four Guardian-class Patrol Boats that have added greater capability to the Navy, strengthened Papua New Guinea’s maritime domain and are actively contributing to regional maritime security.
“Our warmest congratulations go to Commanding Officer, Lieutenant Nathan Tai Tombe and the crew of the HMPNGS Gilbert Toropo, and we wish them ‘fair winds and following seas’ for their journey home and future missions,” Mr Gregg said.
Faster than the previous/current Pacific-class patrol boats, with improved seakeeping, better amenities, and an enhanced mission capability – including an integrated RHIB stern launch and recovery system – the Guardian-class Patrol Boat provides Papua New Guinea 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 subsequent, contract options awarded in April 2018 and November 2022 taking the project to 22 vessels, valued at more than A$350 million, in total. Papua New Guinea, Fiji, the Federated States of Micronesia, Tonga, Solomon Islands, Cook Islands, Kiribati, Marshall Islands, Palau, Samoa, Tuvalu, Vanuatu, and Timor-Leste are receiving vessels.
The Pacific Patrol Boat Replacement Project supports more than 200 direct jobs at Austal Australia and more than 200 indirect jobs nationally through Australian businesses contracted by Austal.
Austal Australia’s service centre in Cairns, incorporating a 1,200 tonne (80 metre LOA) slipway and a 1,120 tonne mobile boat hoist, continues to provide in-service support to the growing Guardian-class Patrol Boat fleet; with more than 100 people employed in a variety of engineering and sustainment roles in the Far North Queensland city.
The 39.5 metre steel monohull patrol boat – designed, constructed and sustained by Austal Australia – is based on a proven design platform that has included the 38 metre Bay-class, 56 metre Armidale-class and 58 metre Cape-class patrol boats that are in service with the Australian Border Force and Royal Australian Navy.
This ASX announcement has been approved and authorised for release by Paddy Gregg, Austal Limited’s Chief Executive Officer.