Australia has upgraded the wharf and shore-based infrastructure at Papua New Guinea’s (PNG) Lombrum Naval Base on Manus Island.

The upgrade has been carried out by Fletcher Morobe Constructions under an A$5m ($3.63m) contract.

Australian Defence Industry Minister Christopher Pyne said: “The Lombrum upgrades will support the safe and secure berthing of PNG’s four new Guardian-class patrol boats.

“The infrastructure works build upon existing security cooperation between Defence and the PNG Defence Force, including the recently established A$2m ($1.45m) communications centre at Lombrum.”

The contract is part of the Australian Government’s Pacific Maritime Security Programme that has been designed to support the country’s continuing commitment in strengthening and improving regional maritime security.

“The Lombrum upgrades will support the safe and secure berthing of PNG’s four new Guardian-class patrol boats.”

Pyne added: “Australia is proud to support the PNG Defence Force in strengthening their maritime security capability, and remains committed to our longstanding partnership.”

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According to Pyne, the Pacific Maritime Security Programme also helps provide a regional aerial surveillance capability.

Under the programme, Australia is committed to deliver 21 Guardian-class vessels to 12 Pacific nations and Timor‑Leste between this year and 2023.

Designed and being built by Austal, the Guardian-class Pacific patrol boat is 39.5m long, with a beam of 8m and a loaded draft of 2.5m.

Currently under construction at the company’s Pacific Patrol Boat Production Facility in Western Australia, the vessels will be capable of achieving speeds of 20k and can each accommodate 23 people.

On 30 May, the first Guardian-class ship was launched by Austal to be received in Papua New Guinea during late-October.