Australia giving four ships to PNG for maritime patrols

PORT MORESBY, 26 SEPTEMBER 2018 (THE NATIONAL) – Australia will provide the Papua New Guinea navy four ships for maritime patrols, according to Defence Minister Solan Mirisim.

One of the vessels is nearing completion and will be delivered by December. The other three will be built and delivered later.

It is part of Australia’s ongoing assistance to the military training and other support services given to the PNG navy to patrol the sea borders and curb illegal activities there.

Mirisim said the region including PNG was facing a lot of transnational crimes along the border such as illegal fishing.

He said with PNG’s strategic location, the boats would intercept people smuggling, drugs smuggling, gun trade and smuggling along the borders.

Some of the vessels will be based in Port Moresby and others in Manus. The vessels are different from the three handed over by the Australian Border Force to the PNG Customs border and maritime security division.

Meanwhile, Australian Minister for Defence Christopher Pyne said Australia was continuing its commitment to regional maritime security through the upgrade of wharf and shore-based infrastructures at the Lombrum naval base on Manus Island.

Pyne said the AUD$5 million (about K12mil) contract was part of Australia’s Pacific Maritime Security Programme.

“The infrastructure works build upon existing security cooperation between the Australian Defence Force and the PNG Defence Force, including the recently established AUD$2 million (K5mil) communications centre at Lombrum,” he said.

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