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Sunday, July 14, 2024

Fiji's New Patrol Boat Recovered After Grounding Incident

Maritime Activity Reports, Inc.

July 2, 2024

Fiji's Navy confirmed its patrol boat RFNS Puamau has been successfully salvaged after it struck a reef last month. (Photo: Republic of Fiji Navy)

Fiji's Navy confirmed its patrol boat RFNS Puamau has been successfully salvaged after it struck a reef last month. (Photo: Republic of Fiji Navy)

Salvors have recovered Fiji's naval patrol boat RFNS Puamau, three weeks after the brand new vessel went aground on its maiden patrol.

The vessel was successfully recovered from the reef at Fulaga and towed to the safe waters of Ogea Island where a thorough damage assessment will be conducted, the Republic of Fiji Navy said.

RFNS Puamau is a Guardian-class Patrol Boat (GCPB) built by Austal for the Australian Department of Defence, which gifted the vessel to Fiji's Navy.

Just months after the vessel's official handover in March, it hit a reef on Fiji's remote Lau group of islands on June 10, during its first patrol.

While RFNS Puamau suffered significant hull damage, no oil spills were reported, and the crew was unharmed.

A formal investigation is underway to determine the cause of the incident.

RFNS Puamau is the 19th GCPB delivered under Australia's Pacific Maritime Security Program, which is designed to aid the neighboring Pacific Island nations, such as Timor-Leste, Fiji, Palau, Kiribati and Tonga.

Two GCPBs were destroyed by cyclones that hit Tuvalu last year, and one was damaged beyond repair in Samoa in 2021.