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Just One Month After Commissioning, Fiji Navy Patrol Boat Nearly Sinks After Hitting Coral Reef

During the unfortunate and "embarrassing" incident, the Guardian-class patrol boat RFNS Puamau, donated to the Fiji Navy by the Australian government, had just commenced its inaugural patrol after being commissioned into the naval forces of the Pacific Island nation one month ago.

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(DEFENCE SECURITY ASIA) — Just one month after being commissioned into the Fiji Navy, the nation’s patrol vessel RFNS Puamau nearly sank after colliding with a coral reef in the country’s archipelago during its inaugural patrol.

The incident occurred shortly after the Guardian-class patrol boat, donated by the Australian government to Fiji, embarked on its first mission.

The Australian government presented the vessel to Fiji’s Prime Minister Sitiveni Rabuka in a ceremony in Perth last March, as part of a security program for Pacific Island nations.

These nations use patrol boats donated by Australia to monitor maritime security and control their waters against illegal fishing activities.

However, the mishap involving the newly commissioned Fiji Navy patrol boat is an embarrassing setback, especially during its first operational patrol.

Fiji
During the unfortunate and “embarrassing” incident, the Guardian-class patrol boat RFNS Puamau, donated to the Fiji Navy by the Australian government, had just commenced its inaugural patrol after being commissioned into the naval forces of the Pacific Island nation one month ago.

 

 According to Fiji authorities, there were no injuries or fatalities reported, and all naval crew members were successfully rescued by passing ships.

In a statement, the Fiji Navy stated that its priority is the safety and welfare of all the crew aboard the vessel and the recovery of the patrol boat.

 “A crisis management team has been assembled to monitor the situation, with emergency support crews en route to the location along with other partners,” it said and quoted by Australian media.

The Australian government is also assisting in the rescue efforts for the RFNS Puamau, and the Fiji Navy has dispatched another patrol vessel to the scene.

Fiji
RFNS Puamau

Fiji

Efforts are underway to pump water out of the stricken vessel to prevent it from sinking.

Meanwhile, local residents told the media that the area is known for its rocky reefs and strong winds.

They added that commercial ships avoid sailing in the location due to its naturally hazardous conditions. — DSA

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