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HM opens new Navy Headquarters and commissions VOEA Ngahau Koula

Radio & TV Tonga, Nuku’alofa, 16/10/2019

Their Majesties – King Tupou VI and Queen Nanasipau’u this morning attended a special program where His Majesty opened the New Navy Headquarters building at Masefield Naval Base and also commissioned the new patrol boat for the Tongan Navy – VOEA Ngahau Koula, made possible through assistance from Australia that was worth millions of dollars.

After taking a tour inside the new building, their majesties, along with the many distinguished guests, boarded the VOEA Ngahau Koula for a boat cruise around the Nuku’alofa Harbour.

The new navy headquarters was built by the first construction engineering squadron of His Majesty’s Armed Forces with the funding for the materials provided by Australia. The new patrol boat VOEA Ngahau Koula was also gifted from Australia under the Pacific Maritime Security Program.

The Head of Navy Engineering, Australian Defence Force – Rear Admiral Colin Lawrence, made an address representing Australia before presenting a model of the guardian class patrol boat to His Majesty.

He said “With the arrival of this new vessel, known as the guardian class patrol boat, Australia and Tonga will build on this history. This vessel is not only beautiful to look at, it is significantly larger than the Pacific patrol boats, and offers notable improvements in overall capability. The Ngahau Koula is expected to have a service life of 25 years. She has a better range, better endurance, better seakeeping and crew facilities, all of which will help ensure that Tonga can continue to patrol and secure its maritime borders.”

“Australia is privileged to have been able to provide the funding for the materials to construct the headquarters. I’ve been particularly impressed with the construction skills of the first construction engineering squadron of His Majesty’s Armed Forces. I’m certain the friendship formed between our engineers will continue to generate excellent outcomes for both Tonga and Australia in the future,” Rear Admiral Colin Lawrence added.

The minister responsible for His Majesty’s Armed Forces – Lord Ma’afu emphasized on the importance of maritime security and how Australia’s assistance marked today would help HMAF Navy carry out their duties.

“The responsibility of Tonga Navy’s across the spectrum of responsibilities, in terms of maritime issue, are becoming more and more significant. Fisheries, resources management, security, safety, surveillance, logistics, law enforcement, regional and international cooperation and humanitarian assistance and disaster relief, both at a national and regional level, it goes without saying that these new assets will certainly reinforce the navy’s capability, organisation and resourcing, as well as complimenting the governments blue-economy initiatives and international maritime and ocean affairs commitments,” Lord Ma’afu said.

Attending this morning’s program were members of the diplomatic corps, members of parliament, cabinet ministers, representatives from foreign defence forces, and many invited guests.

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