AUSTAL Australia has delivered its 16th Guardian-class patrol boat to the Australian Department of Defence.

The Australian government gifted the vessel to the Federated States of Micronesia during a ceremony at Austal’s shipyard in Western Australia.

Commodore Ivan Ingham of the Royal Australian Navy, senior ADF officer Western Australia and Lieutenant commander Steward “Siddi” Peter of the FSM Police Maritime Wing attended the ceremony in Henderson.

Austal CEO Paddy Gregg said the newest vessel is the first of two Guardian-class Patrol Boats to be delivered to the defence department in the second half of 2023.

Four more vessels under contract are scheduled for delivery in 2024.

“With the completion of engineering enhancements that deliver even greater system capabilities, this latest Guardian-class patrol boat adds an outstanding new capability to the Federated States of Micronesia Police Maritime Wing,” Mr Gregg said.

“Our warmest congratulations go to LCDR Siddi Peter and his crew; we wish them fair winds and following seas for their journey home and future missions.”

Austal expects the new Guardian-class patrol boat to provide Micronesia with an improved naval asset for border patrol, regional policing, search and rescue and other domestic and international operations.

The vessel is the second of its kind handed over to Micronesia under the Pacific Patrol Boat Replacement Project. The first boat, FSS Tosiwo Makayama, was delivered in March 2022.

The project is part of the Australian government’s Pacific Maritime Security Program.

Austal won the contract to build 22 boats for operations Papua New Guinea, Fiji, Micronesia, Kiribati, the Marshall Islands, Palau, Samoa, Tuvalu, Vanuatu and Timor-Leste.