22 May 2015
Royal Solomon Island Police Vessel Auki returns from Tropical Cyclone Pam relief efforts in Vanuatu
The Royal Solomon Island Police Vessel Auki, and its crew returned home yesterday after a two month relief mission to Vanuatu and Temoto Province in the wake of the devastation caused by Tropical Cyclone Pam.
While undertaking the mission, officers from the Auki assisted with emergency evacuations, the delivery of humanitarian stores and transporting assessment teams to remote areas.
The vessel was greeted at the Royal Solomon Islands Police Force Maritime Unit wharf by the Commissioner of the Royal Solomon Islands Police Force, Mr Frank Prendergast, Australian Defence Advisor for the South West Pacific, Lieutenant Colonel Richard Watson and senior members of the Royal Solomon Islands Police Force and Participating Police Force.
Lieutenant Colonel Watson welcomed back the officers, applauding them for the outstanding role that they played during the relief efforts.
“Australia recognises your valuable contribution and I am pleased that your skills and expertise have been put to good use in responding to Tropical Cyclone Pam.
“The Auki provided longer support, to more remote communities than any other single asset, and you should be proud of your achievements as part of the Solomon Islands’ first operational deployment.
“I acknowledge the strain of being away from your family and loved ones for such a long time and also thank your families back at home for their sacrifices while you were away.
“The Australian Government is proud to have been able to support Auki’s participation in the relief effort under our Defence Cooperation Program.”
The RSIPV Auki along with a second vessel, the RSIPV Lata, were gifted to the Solomon Island Government under the Australian Government’s Pacific Patrol Boat Program. Australia also provides assistance for ongoing maintenance and logistics support for the patrol boats, as well as providing valuable training opportunities for maritime officers.
Key components of the Patrol Boat Program are the roles played by the Maritime Surveillance Adviser and Technical Adviser, appointments filled by Royal Australian Navy personnel.
Apart from playing a key role in providing essential disaster relief, the patrol boats also assist the government in the security of the Solomon Islands maritime environment, combating transnational crime, illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing and protecting the exclusive economic zone and the nation’s valuable marine resources.