Austal Australia has delivered the 14th Guardian-Class Patrol Boat (GCPB) to the Australian Department of Defense. The vessel, FSS Tosiwo Nakayama, was then gifted by the Australian Government to the Federated States of Micronesia at a certificate signing ceremony held at Austal’s shipyard in Henderson, Western Australia.
The ceremony was attended in person by Commodore Ivan Ingham AM, Senior ADF Officer WA and Captain Gary Lawton, Commanding Officer HMAS Stirling, with the Federated States of Micronesia being represented by Lieutenant Commander Paulino Yangitesmal, Commanding Officer of FSS Tosiwo Nakayama. Pre-recorded video messages from the President of the Federated States of Micronesia, His Excellency Mr David W. Panuelo, and the Honourable Andrew Hastie MP, Assistant Minister for Defence, were played during the official handover ceremony.
The vessel is the first of two GCPBs to be delivered to the Federated States of Micronesia under the Pacific Patrol Boat Replacement Project (SEA3036-1), part of the Australian Government’s Pacific Maritime Security Program.
This new vessel is the first of nine naval ships scheduled for delivery to the Commonwealth of Australia in 2022 – including five Guardian-class patrol Boats and four Evolved Cape-class Patrol Boats.
“This first of nine ships to be delivered to the Commonwealth this year highlights Austal’s proven capability to construct multiple naval vessel projects in Australia, simultaneously,” said Austal Limited Chief Executive Officer, Paddy Gregg. “We’re very proud of our teams – from Austal Australia, the Department of Defense and our supply chain partners throughout the National Naval Shipbuilding Enterprise, who are continuing to achieve outstanding efficiencies and productivity in the delivery of the Pacific Patrol Boat Replacement Project.
“Our warmest congratulations go to Commander Steward Peter from the FSM National Police Maritime Wing and we wish ‘fair winds and following seas’ to the Commanding Officer of FSS Tosiwo Nakayama, Lieutenant Commander Paulino Yangitesmal and his crew.”
The 39.5 meter steel monohull GCPB – designed, constructed and sustained by Austal Australia – is based on a proven design platform that has included the 38 meter Bay-class, 56 meter Armidale-class and 58 meter Cape-class patrol boats that are in service with the Australian Border Force and Royal Australian Navy.
Faster than the Pacific-class patrol boats, with improved seakeeping, better amenities, and an enhanced mission capability – including an integrated RHIB stern launch and recovery system – the GCPBs provide the Federated States of Micronesia 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 an additional contract option awarded in April 2018, taking the program to 21 vessels, valued at more than A$335 million.
Twelve Pacific Island nations including Papua New Guinea, Fiji, the Federated States of Micronesia, Tonga, Solomon Islands, Cook Islands, Kiribati, Marshall Islands, Palau, Samoa, Tuvalu, Vanuatu and Timor-Leste will receive the vessels through to 2023.
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 expanded service center in Cairns, incorporating a 1,200 tonne (80 meter LOA) slipway and a 1,120 ton mobile boat hoist, continues to provide in-service support to the growing GCPB fleet; with more than 100 people now employed in a variety of engineering and sustainment roles in the Far North Queensland city.