The vessel, the RSIPV Taro, was then gifted by the Australian Government to the Solomon Islands Government at a certificate signing ceremony held at Austal Australia’s Henderson shipyard, attended by His Excellency Mr Robert Sisilo, Solomon Islands High Commissioner to Australia; Mr Vince Connelly MP, Federal Member for Stirling and RADM Katherine Richards, Head of Navy Engineering at the Royal Australian Navy.
RSIPV Taro is the second of two Guardian-class Patrol Boats to be delivered to the Solomon Islands under the Pacific Patrol Boat Replacement Project, part of the Australian Government’s Pacific Maritime Security Program, and follows the delivery of the RSIPV Gizo in November 2019.
Austal Chief Executive Officer Paddy Gregg said the delivery of the second Guardian-class Patrol Boat to the Solomon Islands signifies the half way mark in the delivery of the Pacific Patrol Boat Replacement Project.
The Pacific Patrol Boat Replacement (PPB-R) Project was awarded to Austal 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 39.5 metre steel monohull patrol boat – designed, constructed and sustained by Austal Australia – is based on a proven design platform that has included the 38 metre Bay-class, 56 metre Armidale-class and 58 metre Cape-class patrol boats that are in service with the Australian Border Force and Royal Australian Navy.