The Australian Minister for Defense Materiel Mike Kelly announced the signing of a $21 million four-year contract with AMC Search Ltd to provide Pacific Patrol Boat (PPB) training services.
Dr. Kelly said AMC Search Ltd (AMCS) is the commercial arm of the Australian Maritime College, located in Launceston, Tasmania.
“The contract is for a range of technical, operational and administration courses for students from the 11 nations participating in the PPB Program,” Dr. Kelly said.
“An annual suite of 16 separate training programs are to be delivered in Launceston.
“Courses will range in duration from 10 days to 12 weeks and AMCS will also deliver some training in individual countries.
“It is anticipated that approximately 140 – 160 students will undertake training each year.
“The PPB Program remains the centerpiece of the Defense Cooperation Program in the South Pacific,” he said.
In addition to training delivery and assessment, AMCS will also provide 24 hour support to all PPB trainees.
Federal Member for Bass, Geoff Lyons MP, said the contract was good news for Launceston.
“This contract means that the Government will continue to deliver the necessary training services to the countries participating in the PPB Program, right here in Launceston,” Mr Lyons said.
Senator Feeney said the program was successful and would evolve under the Government’s Pacific Maritime Security Program announced in the recent Defense White Paper.
“This program saw 22 patrol boats gifted to 12 nations in the Pacific between 1987 and 1997,” Senator Feeney said.
“These patrol boats provide Pacific Island Countries with significant sovereign capability to conduct maritime surveillance and enforcement of their Exclusive Economic Zones and also assist in national search and rescue missions and disaster relief.
“The training provides critical operations and mariner skills to the participating Pacific states, helping build their capability to protect their boarders and resources,” he said.
Training provided to Pacific crews by Launceston’s Australian Maritime College builds a range of core skills, including: maritime technical, seamanship, communications, search and rescue, navigation and management courses.
Australia proposes to replace the current Pacific fleet from 2018 over a period of 10 years.
In addition to the training program, Australia continues to provide a range of support services including the conduct of refits, engineering and technical services and logistic support.
Following the announcement, Senator Feeney and Mr Lyons received a brief on the extensive range of training courses provided under the PPB program, met with teachers and staff and toured the facilities of the AMC.