Pacific Patrol Boat from Australia Runs Aground on Maiden Voyage in Fiji

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Pacific Patrol Boat from Australia Runs Aground on Maiden Voyage in Fiji

A Pacific patrol boat, the RFNS Puamau, recently encountered trouble during its maiden voyage, hitting a reef in Fiji's Lau group of islands. The vessel, gifted to Fiji by the Australian government, faced this mishap just a few months after being handed over to Fiji's Prime Minister, Sitiveni Rabuka, at a ceremony in Perth. While no injuries were sustained, the situation has become a matter of concern for the naval authorities of Fiji.

Following the grounding of the RFNS Puamau, Fiji's Navy has been focused on ensuring the safety of the crew and initiating recovery efforts. Emergency response teams are in place, collaborating with partners to address the situation. Australia has joined in the efforts, deploying another patrol boat to assist with the recovery operation, with concerns over potential damages to the vessel if salvage operations are delayed. Moreover, reports indicate that the specific area where the incident occurred is known to be hazardous, highlighting the challenges faced during maritime operations.

The Guardian-class patrol boats, like the RFNS Puamau, are utilized by several Pacific Island governments to protect their maritime zones and combat illegal fishing activities. Despite the popularity of these high-tech vessels, issues have arisen within the Pacific Maritime Security Program, with multiple incidents of patrol boats being damaged in recent years due to various reasons. Australian authorities have been active in addressing these challenges, emphasizing their commitment to the security and support of Pacific countries through such partnerships.