Palau is expected to receive a new patrol boat from Australia in June 2020 to replace PSS H.I. Remeliik.

In a press conference on October 2, President Tommy Remengesau Jr. announced that the PSS H.I. Remellik will be taken out of commission by February 2020 with the new boat coming in by June which will be named PSS Remeliik II.

Remengesau announced the replacement after showing the media a replica of the new boat.

A replica of the new patrol boat from Australia. Photo: Rhealyn Pojas

PSS Remeliik was donated by Australia 24 years ago and the new patrol boat will have a length of 139 feet, which is 35 ft longer than the 104 feet Remeliik.

The new boat can also take a crew of up to 25.

In February next year, PSS Remeliik will bid its goodbye to Palau to travel  to Australia.

The new patrol boat is estimated to cost around $20 million.

The new patrol vessel will join Japan donated PSS Kedam and two smaller boats to conduct maritime surveillance in Palau’s Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ).

Before PSS Kedam, Palau only has one patrol boat- PSS H.I Remeliik.

In earlier statements, Remenegsau said Kedam and Remeliik will help patrol its ocean and assist tackling the challenge of illegal, unregulated and unreported fishing.

“We are one percent of land, and 99 percent ocean. And that means, we are indeed a large ocean state, and the ocean is everything to us. It is our food security, it is our economic security, it is our cultural and social security, for it is our way of life.”

Australia has been delivering patrol boats to other Pacific Island Countries. Other recipients include Tonga, the Solomon Islands, Papua New Guinea, Fiji, Tuvalu, Kiribati, Samoa, Vanuatu, FSM, the Marshall Islands, and Cook Islands.

Australia is also complementing its patrol boat program with aerial surveillance service which is part of the    Australian Government Department of Defence’s $2 billion Pacific Maritime Security Program.

The program will be in conjunction with the Pacific Patrol Boat program.  Palau and FSM are among the 12 nations in the Pacific that are part of the program. The other nations are Papua New Guinea, Fiji,  Tonga, Solomon Islands, Cook Islands, Kiribati, Republic of the Marshall Islands,  Samoa, Tuvalu, and Vanuatu.