Vanuatu’s patrol boat, RVS Tukoro officially returned to Vanuatu on Tuesday 23 August 2016. RVS Tukoro had been out of operation for over 16 months after sustaining significant damage during Tropical Cyclone Pam in March 2015. RVS Tukoro’s return was welcomed by the Australian High Commissioner, Jeremy Bruer, and Vanuatu’s Minister of Internal Affairs, Alfred Maoh.
As part of the Australian Government’s continued assistance to Vanuatu’s recovery from the devastation of Tropical Cyclone Pam, it funded RVS Tukoro’s repairs and additional training at an approximate cost of 215 million vatu (AU$2.7million). RVS Tukoro has now been returned to Vanuatu in optimal operational condition and will resume her role in protecting Vanuatu’s maritime borders and protecting its valuable marine recourses.
Australia recognises the important capabilities RVS Tukoro provides to Vanuatu to protect its exclusive economic zone. Australia’s Department of Defence worked hard to ensure RVS Tukoro was returned in a mission ready condition.
“Australia is pleased to be able to help Vanuatu maintain this important capability to secure its waters. Having Tukoro returned to Vanuatu and operational means Vanuatu is able to patrol its waters and work with other neighbouring Pacific island countries to protect its valuable resources” said High Commissioner to Vanuatu, Jeremy Bruer.
The Australian Department of Defence continued to fund bilateral and regional maritime surveillance patrols of Vanuatu’s exclusive economic zone while RVS Tukoro was being repaired, such as the successful patrols conducted by Vanuatu Police Maritime Wing personelle on board the HMNZS Wellington and RSIPF Auki under OPERATION SOLVAN in July 2016.
The Australian Government, through its Defence Cooperation Program, has demonstrated its long-term commitment to Vanuatu’s maritime security, investing almost 800 million vatu (AU$10 million) over the past five years in maintaining RVS Tukoro and training her crew to ensure that Vanuatu has an excellent maritime capability until a new patrol boat is delivered in 2021 through the Pacific Maritime Security Program.
SOURCE: AUSTRALIAN HIGH COMMISSION