Patrol Boat Taro during its commissioning| Photo SIBC News

The new Guardian Class Patrol Boat Taro is finally commissioned today, at the Ports Container Terminal, Honiara.

Commissioning the vessel, Guest of Honour Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare says, Solomon Islands is a Maritime nation and the new patrol boat will surely boost its maritime security.

“The RSIPF Maritime is responsible for doing territorial surveillance, border patrolling and reconnaissance, monitoring our EEZ, and protecting against illegal entry into our water. The donation by Australia of the new guardian patrol boat RSIPV Gizo Taro is indeed a boost to our maritime security.”

Prime Minister Sogavare added the assets will also help to assist our fight against Unreported and Unregulated (IUU) fishing which is a major threat to the security and long-term sustainability of Solomon Island Tuna fisheries.

“Solomon Island as a maritime nation depends largely on its maritime resources. It is, therefore, critical that our maritime boundaries are protected. Protecting our marine jurisdiction, whose threats are multi-faceted, is a government responsibility.” 

Maritime security is important to the Solomon Islands as it links to our economic development and livelihood. Also, much of the trading, either internationally or locally, happens via marine water. Thus, supporting international order, in making sure open sea lanes and keeping it from the dispute, is crucial,” he adds.

Officials during the commissioning ceremony| Photo: SIBC News

Meanwhile, Australian High Commissioner to Solomon Islands Dr. Lachlan Strahan said, the vessel is part of Australia’s billion dollars Pacific Maritime Security Program.

“The Patrol Boats are the fulcrum of Australia’s thirty years AUD$2 billion dollar Pacific Maritime Security Program. This program is of course a pillar of Australia’s Pacific step up. It aims at enhancing maritime surveillance, and law enforcement capabilities to our Pacific friends and neighbors.” 

Commissioner of the Royal Solomon Islands Police Force (RSIPF) Mostyn Mangau reiterated the Patrol boat straightens regional capability to protect illegal activities Solomon Islands waters as well as boots the search and rescue efforts.

Members of the RSIPF saluting the newly commissioned patrol boat

The Patrol Boat TARO replaced Patrol boat AUKI which was decommissioned in March this year. 

The vessel is supported by the Australian Government Solomon Islands government through the Pacific Maritime Security Programme. 

by Charley Piringi

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