The Australian Government has gifted the second of two special purposes, fast pursuit vessels to the Royal Solomon Islands Police Force (RSIPF) for maritime patrol and response operations.
The first RSIPF boat which is already undertaking operations on the Western Border was handed over at a ceremony at Rove in October last year.
Australian High Commissioner Dr. Lachlan Strahan formally handed over the second vessel to Minister for Police, National Security and Correctional Services Anthony Veke, Acting Police Commissioner Mostyn Mangau, and Permanent Secretary for Police, National Security, and Correctional Services Karen
Galokale, at the RSIPF Aola Maritime Base yesterday morning, a joint statement from the Australian Government and RSIPF said.
High Commissioner Strahan said Australia was pleased to be enabling the RSIPF to become more effective and nimble. He noted that the second vessel was larger, faster and equipped with more advanced radar.
“This second vessel will extend RSIPF’s vital work patrolling the country’s maritime borders. These patrols have become even more important as Solomon Islands steps up its efforts to prevent a COVID-19 outbreak,” he said.
“These boats are a demonstration of Australia’s commitment to helping the Solomon Islands manage its borders. Work is well underway to construct a new permanent border and patrol outpost in the Shortland Islands.
“The Australian Defence Force is taking forward the design of the post which was announced by Prime Minister Sogavare and Prime Minister Morrison in September last year.
“This is a testament to our close security partnership and of the close friendship between our two countries.
“Australia and Solomon Islands are fully committed to ensuring our shared region remains peaceful and stable,” he said.
At the ceremony, Minister Veke on behalf of the government thanked Australia for its continuing support to security agencies in the county.
“Our security environment at our borders is often very challenging for our police officers and other law enforcement agencies to effectively manage, due to our very limited mobility resources available to them. Critical patrolling duties along the Solomon Islands western border with PNG becomes very crucial now after the government’s declaration of the Western border as an emergency zone under our current state of public Emergency,” he said.
“The kind gifting of this second fast speed vessel from the Australian Government is timely and welcomed for the RSIPF as it will contribute a long way, to further enhance their important policing duties and operations along with other law enforcement agencies at the Western Border.”
In receiving the boat, Acting Police Commissioner Mostyn Mangau said the gift was very timely as the RSIPF steps up its presence in the Western Province.
“On behalf of the Royal Solomon Islands Police Force (RSIPF), I wish to thank the Government of Australia through the Australian High Commissioner in Honiara for this gift of the high-speed patrol vessel which could not have come at a more appropriate time as the Solomon Islands continues the fight to prevent the coronavirus from entering our borders. This is the second such vessel gifted to RSIPF,” he said.
“With the Government’s declaration of the western border with Papua New Guinea as an Emergency Zone under the current State of Public Emergency, the RSIPF as the leading law enforcement agency has the task of ensuring that no small craft vessels will go out or come in through the western common border region with PNG.
“This speed patrol vessel will greatly boost the mobility of RSIPF and that of other Government officers between the many islands in that region to ensure small craft vessels do not break the order and our people in that region are safe and secure from the coronavirus.”