The salvage operation is underway for Samoa’s Nafanua II guardian-class police patrol boat that went aground near the Salelologa wharf two months ago.
A special team of technical advisors arrived into Samoa on the last direct repatriation flight from Australia. Following the mandated quarantine period in isolation, they began the salvage operation this week joined by a team who arrived by boat to transport the Nafanua II back to Australia.
Speaking to Samoa Global News, Minister of Police and Prisons, Faualo Tauiliili Harry Schuster Faualo confirmed that Samoa’s $30 million tala patrol boat will face major repairs in Australia.
“The Nafanua boat has been taken away from the Salelologa reef where it went aground and plans are now underway for it to be taken to Australia,” Faualo said.
“It is not known when the special team from Australia will take the Nafanua but it’s likely to be sometime next week,” he added.
The Nafanua II was part of the Samoa Police operations in Savaii to oversee a political car rally by the Human Rights Protection Party (HRPP) in early August when it became stranded on the reef off the coast of Salelologa.
The Officer in Charge (OIC) for Nafanua II, Superintendent Taito Sefo Faafoi Hunt has since been suspended and charged for misconduct by the Samoa Police Standard Unit (PSU) following a tribunal hearing into the events leading up to the incident.
Five charges of misconduct have been laid against Superintendent Taito and the outcome of the PSU investigation will determine the future of the long serving Captain who had brought the Nafanua II from Australia in 2019.
Australia’s Minister for Defence Senator Linda Reynolds handed over the guardian-class patrol boat to the Samoa Government at a ceremony in Henderson, Western Australia in August 2019.
Nafanua II was received by Honourable Fiame Naomi Mataafa and Samoa’s then Commissioner of Police Su’a Fuivaili’ili Egon Keil.
Australia’s Minister for Defence had said at the time the gift represented the strong and enduring security partnership Australia has with the Samoa Police Service.
“This is evident as we deepen our defence cooperation through the exchange of the Guardian-class Patrol Boat under the Pacific Maritime Security Program,” the Minister had said.
Minister for Defence Industry, the Hon Melissa Price welcomed the Samoan delegation