Fiji naval patrol boat successfully refloated following grounding

RFNS Puamau Guardian class Republic of Fiji Navy
The patrol boat RFNS Puamau being towed following its groundingRepublic of Fiji Navy

A Republic of Fiji Navy patrol boat that ran aground nearly a month prior has been successfully refloated, navy officials recently told reporters. The salvage effort on RFNS Puamau will now be followed by a thorough damage assessment.

The patrol boat has since been towed to Ogea Island where the hull will be inspected. Although the hull reportedly suffered significant damage from the grounding, aerial and surface surveillance revealed no oil spills in the surrounding waters.

The June 11 incident saw Puamau run aground on a reef in the Lau islands in southeastern Fiji. The vessel's grounding occurred while it was conducting its maiden patrol and shortly after it completed safety and survival at sea training.

Strong winds have been reported at the time of the grounding. However, navy officials have not disclosed details on the probable causes of the incident while the investigation is ongoing.

Puamau is the first of a planned four Guardian-class patrol boats to be donated to Fiji by the government of Australia. The vessel arrived in Fiji in early May 2024 and was commissioned into service shortly afterwards.

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