The Australian Department of Defence (DoD) has received the ninth Guardian-class patrol boat (GCPB) from Austal Australia.

Known as future ‘HMPNGS Rochus Lokinap’, the vessel has been gifted by the Government of Australia to the Papua New Guinea (PNG) Defence Force.

A certificate signing ceremony was also held at the company’s Henderson shipyard.

It is the second of four GCPBs to be delivered to PNG under the Pacific Patrol Boat Replacement Project.

The vessel is named after former PNG Defence Force commander (1987 to 1992) brigadier general Rochus Lokinap.

The 39.5m steel monohull patrol boat has been developed centred around a ‘proven design platform’.

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This project is part of the Australian Government’s Pacific Maritime Security Program. It follows the delivery of the Guardian-class patrol boat HMPNGS Ted Diro in December 2018.

Austal CEO Paddy Gregg said that the latest GCPB delivery to PNGs had further improved the company’s relationship with the Australian Department of Defence and the PNG Defence Force.

Gregg said: “Austal not only design and construct the Guardian-class, but also deliver a comprehensive training programme to each crew accepting the vessels.

“Through this successful handover process, we are continuing to develop a very strong, productive relationship with the Papua New Guinea Defence Force and their crews.

“Our warmest congratulations go to the Prime Minister of Papua New Guinea, James Marape; Commander of the Papua New Guinea Defence Force, Major General Gilbert Toropo CBE, and the people of Papua New Guinea on the handover of this latest addition to their naval fleet.”

The Australian Border Force and Royal Australian Navy (RAN) operates 38m Bay-class, 56m Armidale-class and 58m Cape-class patrol boats.

Last month, Austal USA secured a contract from the US Navy to carry out the detailed design and construction of new Expeditionary Fast Transport (EPF) vessel.