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RAAF C27-J Spartan patrols Palau waters

written by Staff reporter | March 25, 2022

A RAAF C-27J Spartan aircraft provided maritime surveillance to help detect and deter illegal fishing activity in the Pacific. (Defence, LSIS Nadav Harel)

The RAAF has been patrolling waters in Palau and the Federated States of Micronesia (FSM) as part of Operation Solania.

The mission, which also includes the Royal Australian Navy, is aimed at supporting regional maritime security, including Pacific Islands Forum Fisheries Agency (FFA) operations.

It also marks Australian forces’ contribution to the FFA’s first operation of 2022, Operation Rai Balang – a maritime surveillance patrol in collaboration with partners across Micronesia and Melanesia.

A RAAF C27-J Spartan crew flew nine missions for the FFA from Palau, detecting and reporting over 110 suspicious vessels and helping locate one vessel of interest.

They were supported by RAN vessel HMAS Melville and HMAS Melville.


“Illegal fishing activity and transnational crime are enormous threats to the region’s fishing industry, which is vital for the economies of our Pacific family,” Joint Task Force 637 Commander, Major General Scott Winter, said.

“By tackling these shared maritime security challenges together with the FFA, our Pacific partners, and members of the Pacific Quadrilateral Defence Coordination Group (Australia, the United States, New Zealand, and France), we are working together to protect ecosystems and livelihoods across the Pacific.”

HMAS Melville’s Commanding Officer, Commander Paul Savage, noted the importance of supporting maritime security efforts in the region.

“Australia and the FSM have a longstanding partnership in maritime security, and Melville’s crew was proud to patrol parts of the nation’s three million square kilometre Exclusive Economic Zone,” CMDR Savage said.

HMAS Melville provided maritime surveillance support ahead of the arrival of the first of two Guardian Class patrol boats, to be delivered under the Pacific Maritime Security Program (PMSP) – Australia’s $2 billion, 30-year commitment to regional maritime security.

As part of the initiative, Australia is replacing Pacific Patrol Boats provided between 1987 and 1997.

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Comments (2)

  • If the first RAN vessel is HMAS MELVILLE, what is the name of the second one…or have you just repeated the name without proof reading it….again.

    • Marc


      HMAS Melville has Multiple Personality Disorder. Both HMAS Melville’s were therefore present

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