As part of Australia and Solomon Islands security partnership, and at the request of the Solomon Islands Government, HMAS Maitland will conduct maritime surveillance support as Solomon Islands prepares to receive its second Guardian-class Patrol Boat, RSIPV Taro, under the Pacific Maritime Security Program in May 2021.
After over 1000 days at sea conducting national activities, the RSIPV Auki was farewelled on 4 March before leaving for Australia on 8 March, where she will be decommissioned from full life service. Australia gifted the Auki to Solomon Islands in 1991 under Australia’s Pacific Patrol Boat Program.
RSIPV Taro will offer greater range, speed, crew size and operational capability than its Pacific Patrol Boat predecessor.
The Maitland’s visit will be contactless, to ensure the health and safety of the Solomon Islands community in the COVID-19 environment. No Australian Defence Force personnel will disembark.
Commander of HMAS Maitland, Lieutenant Commander Julia Griffin, said the deployment reinforced our close bilateral partnership and shared maritime security interests.
“Australia and Solomon Islands share a strong and enduring security partnership, built on a shared vision for a region that is secure, stable, resilient and prosperous,” Lieutenant Commander Griffin said.
“We are working with the Solomon Islands government to improve maritime security in its exclusive economic zone, under the Pacific Maritime Security Program, and through regular Royal Australian Navy visits.”
“HMAS Maitland’s visit will also support regional maritime security, by cooperating with partners to detect, deter and report potential illegal fishing activity.”
In addition to HMAS Maitland’s visit, a Royal Australian Air Force C-27J Spartan aircraft will provide aerial surveillance support across the Pacific in support of Forum Fisheries Agencies operations.
HMAS Maitland will depart the Solomon Islands on 17 March 2020.
Through the Pacific Maritime Security Program, Australia is delivering 21 Guardian-class Patrol Boats to 12 Pacific Island nations and Timor-Leste to support regional security and maintain a secure, free and open Pacific.