Australia and Samoa securing the Pacific

Captain Moles and Inspector Tanuvasa Petone Mauga on board the MV Nafanua

APIA: 12 July 2012: Australia’s Defence Adviser to New Zealand, Captain Stephanie Moles, RAN, has just completed discussions on security issues with Samoan counterparts, the Samoan patrol boat Nafanua and discussed Australia’s enduring commitment to security in the Pacific.

Captain Moles met with Police Minister Hon. Sala Fata Pinati, Commissioner of Police Lilomaiava Suemalo Fou Taioalo, Officer in Charge of Police Maritime Superintendent Tagaolo Iosefatu Wright and the Commanding Officer of MV Nafanua Inspector Tanuvasa Petone Mauga.

The MV Nafanua was gifted to Samoa by Australia in 1988 as part of the Pacific Patrol Boat Program, a continuing program designed to enhance the security of Pacific nations and their ability to patrol and protect their own waters.  Nafanua is used by the Samoa Police for maritime surveillance, quarantine, search and rescue, transnational crime prevention, disaster relief and medical evacuations.  The Government of Samoa is also able to assist neighbouring Tokelau with medical evacuations and transportation through the use of Nafanua.

The Australian Department of Defence supports the operations and maintenance of the Nafanua, including by providing technical and operational support through Navy Maritime Surveillance Adviser Matt Richardson and Technical Adviser Allan Philip.

Captain Moles said Australia was committed to working with Samoa to ensure regional maritime security.

“It is in Australia’s and Samoa’s best interests that there is stability in the Pacific. The Nafanua plays an important role in surveillance, apprehension of illegal fishing in the area and humanitarian disaster relief,” Capt Moles said.

Commanding Officer of Nafanua, Inspector Tanuvasa Petone Mauga said the program has been invaluable in helping the crew learn new skills and knowledge.

“Since its beginning, the program has contributed to the development of Samoa and her people” Tanuvasa said.

“Our ability to respond quickly during the 2009 tsunami was because of this program. It was a heart breaking experience but one which we all wanted to help with and were able to do so with Nafanua”

The Nafanua is scheduled for a multi-million dollar refit in Australia later this year which will upgrade all of the vessel’s systems. This will see its operational life extended to 2020.