HMAS Larrakia will arrive in the Solomon Islands this week to support the Royal Solomon Islands Police Force’s (RSIPF) COVID-19 response.

Larrakia will conduct maritime surveillance activities in the western border region at the request of the Solomon Islands Government.

“This deployment follows HMAS Maitland’s visit in March which focused on maritime security in the western provinces," Commanding Officer Lieutenant Commander Dan Lindquist said.

"This includes working to detect, deter and report potential illegal fishing activity with regional partners.

“HMAS Larrakia will continue the efforts to strengthen our relationship with the Solomon Island Government as we assist with our surveillance support to ensure stability and prosperity in the region.”

No ADF personnel will disembark during the visit.

Australian Defence Adviser Southwest Pacific, Commander Mark Northcote, said Defence has worked closely with Solomon Islands throughout the pandemic to boost the RSIPF’s COVID-19 response and preparedness at the western border.

“In February, Australia delivered two new special purpose aluminium fast boats, providing a more flexible maritime response capability in remote areas,” Commander Northcote said.

Larrakia’s visit comes as the Solomon Islands receives its second Guardian-class Patrol Boat, RSIPV Taro, at a handover ceremony in Australia . RSIPV Taro will offer greater range, speed, crew size and operational capability than its Pacific Patrol Boat predecessor, RSIPV Auki.

RSIPV Taro is the second of two Australian-made Guardian-class Patrol Boats to be gifted to Solomon Islands. The first vessel, RSIPV Gizo, was delivered in November 2019.

Through the Pacific Maritime Security Program, Australia is delivering 21 Guardian-class Patrol Boats to 12 Pacific Island nations and Timor-Leste.

Source: ADM