18 January 2016
Australia works with Solomon Islands to assist Vanuatu for national election
Australia and Solomon Islands will provide naval assistance to Vanuatu for its national election next week.
On the 12th of January, the Royal Solomon Islands Police Vessel LATA and crew departed Honiara for Port Vila. The vessel will replace Vanuatu’s Pacific Patrol Boat, TUKORO, which was damaged during Tropical Cyclone Pam.
Australia has funded the deployment of the LATA, to promote continued regional cooperation.
“We are always keen to promote regional cooperation,” said the Australian Defence Adviser, Lieutenant Colonel Richard Watson.
“Last year the Royal Solomon Islands Police provided magnificent support to Vanuatu in the aftermath of Cyclone Pam, deploying a Pacific Patrol Boat for over a month to help the people of Vanuatu,” he said.
This mission is one of the many operations conducted throughout the Solomon Islands this year.
“It is an exciting job,” said Inspector Luke Vaikawi, acting Director of the Royal Solomon Islands Maritime Unit.
“One day the crew can conduct patrols to protect Solomon Islands fisheries, another day we conduct search and rescue, and another day we can support our close neighbour in Vanuatu.”
Image: Royal Solomon Islands Police Force Commissioner Frank Prendergast saluting the crew prior to departure