A two billion US dollar Pacific Patrol Boat Program to strengthen maritime security in the region has been unveiled by the Australian government today.
The Australian Defense Minister, David Johnston, says it will gift 20 steel, all purpose patrol vessels to replace the patrol boats gifted between 1987 and 1997.
He says the boats will be gifted to all current Pacific Patrol Boat member countries, and a new member, Timor-Leste.
He says in the coming months, discussions will be held with member countries on the individual allocation of patrol vessels.
The Australian Foreign Minister, Julie Bishop, says the program shows its commitment to fisheries protection and surveillance on transnational crime.