The crews of Australian Armidale-class patrol boat HMAS Glenelg and Republic of Fiji Guardian-class patrol boat RFNS Savenaca have worked together to build the mariner skills of personnel.

Glenelg was deployed on Operation Solania supporting the Pacific Island Forum Fisheries Agency (FFA).

The two-week operation was part of the ADF’s contribution to Operation Island Chief, which is one of four FFA maritime surveillance operations held annually to detect, deter, report and/or apprehend potential illegal, unregulated or unreported fishing activity and vessels.

After departing Australia last month, Glenelg conducted patrols, maritime manoeuvres, replenishment-at-sea approaches and tactical communications exercises with Savenaca in the waters between Fiji and Vanuatu.

Commanding Officer Glenelg Lieutenant Commander Alex Finnis said operations and activities in the South-West Pacific enhanced Australia’s ability to operate with partner nations, and strengthened their shared commitment to a secure, prosperous and stable Indo-Pacific.

“These types of opportunities are an excellent way to promote understanding and information sharing between partner nations to ensure we can operate together safely and effectively in the future to achieve shared aims and objectives,” Lieutenant Commander Finnis said.

“One of the key components has been the sharing of information in maritime domain awareness, both with RFNS Savenaca and with our FFA partners in Honiara, Solomon Islands.

“We’ve been able to input contacts we have identified during our surveillance patrols into the FFA common operating picture to assist in the regional monitoring of fisheries compliance. 

“This is critical in ensuring the prosperity and sustainability for the region, which has a strong reliance on the fisheries industry.”

Throughout her deployment, Glenelg operated within Australian and international COVID-19 guidelines, which included contactless port visits.

She will return to her home port of Darwin later this month.

Savenaca is the first of two Guardian-class patrol boats being built in Australia for Fiji as part of the Pacific Maritime Security Program, and was handed over during a ceremony in Western Australia on March 6.

The second patrol boat is scheduled for delivery in 2023.