Australia, SI unite to support Vanuatu national election

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Inspector Luke Vaikawi, acting Director of the Royal Solomon Islands Maritime Unit and Captain of RSIPF Patrol Boat Lata saluting RSIPF Commissioner Frank Prendergast during a parade mounted before the departure of Patrol Boat Lata and its crew.

AUSTRALIA and Solomon Islands are providing naval assistance to Vanuatu for its national election this 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.

 “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 neighbor in Vanuatu.”

Source: Australian High Commission, Honiara Press

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