Nuku’alofa – January 27, 2021: 7.35pm (Nuku’alofa Times): The VOEA Ngahau Siliva was today commissioned by His Majesty King Tupou VI at the Masefield Base, Touliki, Ma’ufanga.
With changing weather throughout the day, the short break of sunshine provided the opportune time for the Commander-in-Chief of His Majesty’s Armed Forces (HMAF) to inspect the new boat and commissioned it for duties in Tongan waters.
This is the second Australian-made Guardian-class vessel gifted to Tonga by the Australian Government, Australia’s Pacific Maritime Security Program, which represented a commitment of $2 billion over 30-years to the countries of the Pacific and Timor-Leste..
Australia’s High Commissioner to Tonga, Mr Adrian Morrison, said that as citizens of island nations, Tongans and Australians recognised the importance of a safe and secure maritime domain to our lives and prosperities.
The VOEA Ngahau Siliva joins sister vessel, VOEA Ngahau Koula, which the King commissioned in October 2019. He said the two patrol boats represent a significant security capability for Tonga.
“They provide the platform for more effective, more wide ranging protection of Tonga’s maritime borders and resources. They build on defence force capability to serve the nation during times of emergency.”
He commended the extraordinary efforts of HMAF and the Australian Defence Force despite the limitations and difficulties COVID-19.
Minister for Defence, Lord Ma’afu expressed his gratitude to the Government of Australia.
Prime Minister Hon Dr Pohiva Tu’i’onetoa was also in attendance, along with Brigadier General Lord Fielakepa, Lord Chief Justice M.H. Whitten QC and Police Commissioner Stephen Caldwell.
The VOEA Ngahau Siliva arrived from Cairns on December 16, 2020.
All 22-crew had to undergo quarantine on the boat close to the Nuku’alofa waterfront.
They all tested negative for COVID-19.