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Pacific Patrol Boat life extension program continues with Tonga's VOEA NEIAFU.



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DEFENCE MEDIA RELEASE

Issued by Ministerial Support and Public Affairs, Department of Defence, Canberra, ACT Phone: 02 6265 3343, Fax: 02 62656946

Media Releases are available via e-mail if you register at www.defence.gov.au/media

MSPA 058/09 Tuesday, 24 February 2009

PACIFIC PATROL BOAT LIFE EXTENSION PROGRAM CONTINUES WITH TONGA’S VOEA NEIAFU

Tonga’s Pacific Patrol Boat, VOEA NEIAFU, has arrived in Townsville to undergo a six-month life extension refit that will see the repair and refurbishment of key systems to facilitate a further 15 years of operation.

Under the Australian Defence Cooperation Program - sponsored and funded by International Policy Division - 22 Pacific Patrol Boats (PPB) were built and gifted to 12 Pacific nations between 1987 and 1997.

The 31 metre PPBs are built to a commercial standard and are used by Pacific nations for maritime surveillance and response, in particular fisheries patrols.

The Life Extension Program (LEP) is responsible for doubling the life expectancy of the PPBs. While they were originally designed to last for 15 years, each boat should now last 30.

The LEP refit provides the PPBs with improved design features, including a modified hull, updated electronic systems, complete engine overhauls, renovated or new fittings, structural modifications to facilitate easier ships husbandry and advanced fresh water and air-conditioning systems.

The LEP refit process takes approximately six months. It is expected that VOEA NEIAFU will be able to commence passage to return to Tonga in early September 2009.

Since 2003, 11 PPBs have successfully undertaken the Life Extension Program refit in North Queensland, the last returning to homeport in December 2008.

Tonga received three PPBs - VOEA NEIAFU, VOEA SAVEA and VOEA PANGAI. The remaining two will receive similar refits at a later date.

Media contacts: Defence Media Liaison: 02 6265 3343 or 0408 498 664