Police patrol boats

Police patrol boats

To support deployments to isolated outlying islands in Solomon Islands, the Australian Defence Force (ADF) and Australian Federal Police (AFP) have been training and supplying boats to boost the capacity of the Solomon Islands Police Force.

IDG – one year on, Paul Jevtovic, Platypus magazine, 2005

“Because of the hundreds of islands, and the harsh terrain restricting access to many areas by vehicle, there is also a requirement for qualified RSIP coxswains. Members are required to graduate with a master class 1V from the School of Marine and Fisheries, with qualified officers enhancing policing capabilities throughout provincial areas, particularly in remote and isolated island communities.

“The live-in course takes one month and requires officers to develop skills such as navigation, seamanship, nautical knowledge, communications, outboard motor maintenance and basic sea safety skills. Forty seven members completed the course in 2004, utilising their skills on vessels known as Rigid Hull Inflatable Boats, a number of which were recently commissioned for use by the RSIP.”

AFP donates powerful patrol boats to the Solomon Islands, AFP Media release, 26 May 2006

The three 13-metre vessels, worth over $2 million, are in the final stages of construction and will be exported to the Solomon Islands over the coming months. Final trials of the first patrol boat are currently underway at St Helens in north-east Tasmania and are expected to be complete by late May. AFP International Deployment Group National Manager, Paul Jevtovic, said the new vessels will substantially boost the capacity of the Royal Solomon Islands Police (RSIP) to conduct regular patrols around the 920 islands in the South Pacific archipelago….

“The new patrol vessels are of aluminium construction, hold 2800 litres of fuel and can travel at a cruise speed of 30 knots (60kph) over a distance of 550 nautical miles. Each carries a crew of four police with capacity for up to 12 passengers and 1 tonne of equipment. They will be based at selected provinces in the Solomon Islands including Gizo, Auki and Honiara and will have the capacity to stay on patrol for up to two weeks at a time. The donation of these vessels is in addition to 20 six-metre rigid hull inflatable boats already given to the RSIP by the AFP, which are currently being used at 13 police posts within the archipelago.”

Regional instability and Australia’s response, Minister for Defence Brendan Nelson, speech to Murdoch University Asia Research Centre, 28 September 2006

“A practical example of this is the help provided by the Defence Force in assisting the Solomon Islands Police Force with maritime capability. The core capability is the two Australian donated Pacific patrol boats, which are used by the police for fisheries protection and increasingly, for other maritime activities such as disaster relief and border protection.”