Samoa has accepted a Guardian-class patrol boat from Australia as part of a 2022 agreement to obtain a new vessel for the Apia police service.
The SPB Nafanua III was built by Austal to replace the Nafanua II, which has performed similar policing and maritime security tasks.
The delivery for the latest ship was announced at the HMAS Stirling in Western Australia. Samoan Police and Prisons Minister Faualo Harry Schuster received the ship on behalf of the Samoan government.
“This handover ceremony of the vessel represents a significant step forward in Samoa’s maritime security capabilities and underscores Australia’s commitment to maritime security in the Pacific region,” Schuster said.
Australian officials present during the event included Hasluck Representative Tania Lawrence in place of Defence Minister Richard Marles.
“The ability to protect our oceans, ensuring they benefit Pacific people, is at the heart of our shared vision for a stable, prosperous and environmentally sustainable region,” Lawrence said.
“This boat will help protect the incredible marine biodiversity of Samoan waters – already vulnerable to climate change and from illegal fishing.”
Australia’s Samoan friends received the newest Guardian-class patrol boat SPB Nafanua III during a recent ceremony. The boat will help protect the incredible marine biodiversity of Samoan waters – already vulnerable to climate change & from illegal fishing. 🇦🇺🇼🇸 <1/3> #YourADF pic.twitter.com/332yBNtgH6
— Defence Australia (@DefenceAust) November 24, 2023
The Nafanua III
The 40-meter (130-foot) Nafanua III will be deployed under Samoa’s Police Maritime Wing (PMW) and conduct maritime security and surveillance operations across sovereign waters.
The ship will focus on “illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing and transnational crime” during its service life, the Australian Department of Defense wrote.
In addition to defense missions, the Nafanua III will support disaster relief and humanitarian assistance.
Meanwhile, the Samoan and Australian governments are working on training and infrastructure to support the vessel’s arrival.
A revamped PMW facility will also be ready to house the Nafanua III next year.