HMPNGS Francis Agwi (P403)

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HMPNGS Francis Agwi at Austal shipyards in Henderson, Western Australia, October 2021 07.

HMPNGS Francis Agwi (P403) is the third Guardian class patrol vessel to be delivered to the Papau New Guinea Defence Force.[1] Australia designed and will provided four Pacific Forum patrol vessels to Papua New Guinea in 1987 and 1988, and in 2015 confirmed she would be replacing those vessels with four larger, and more capable, Guardian-class vessels.[2]


Following the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea extension of maritime nations' exclusive economic zones to 200 kilometres (Template:Convert/nmi) Australia agreed to provide twelve of its neighbours with twenty-two Pacific Forum-class patrol vessels, so they could exercise sovereignty over their own territory, using their own resources.[3] The first vessel was delivered in 1987, and in 2015 Australia announced plans to replace the original patrol boats with larger and more capable vessels.


Australian ship builder Austal won the $335 million Australian dollar contract for the project, and built the vessels at its Henderson shipyard, near Perth.[4] Guardian class vessels were designed to use commercial off-the-shelf components, not cutting edge, military grade equipment, to make them easier to maintain in small isolated shipyards.

The vessels are 39.5 metres (130 ft) long, can travel 3000 nautical miles at 12 knots .[4] Their maximum speed is 20 knots .[5] Their design allows the recipient nations to mount a pair of heavy machine guns, on either flank, and possibly an autocannon of up to 30mm, on the foredeck.


Frances Agwi, the vessel's namesake, was a commander of the Papua New Guinea Defence Force.[6][7]

In January 2014 Agwi was appointed PNG's High Commissioner to New Zealand.[8][9]

Operational career

The Francis Agwi was completed on October 22, 2021, and handed over to PNG crew.[10] The Francis Agwi arrived in Port Moresby, her homeport, on December 1, 2021.[1]


  1. 1.0 1.1 Marjorie Finkeo (2021-12-01). "Surviellance Boost". Post Courier. Archived from the original on 2021-12-01. Retrieved 2021-12-01. "The third Guardian class patrol boat called Francis Agwi arrived yesterday at Basilisk Naval Base in Port Moresby." 
  2. "Austal Launched First Guardian Class Pacific Patrol Boat". Navy recognition. 2018-06-20. Archived from the original on 2020-09-24. Retrieved 2018-06-22. "The first of 21 Guardian-class, Pacific Patrol Boats (PPB-R) was launched by Austal last month. The first vessel is scheduled for delivery to Papua New Guinea in late October 2018." 
  3. "PAPUA NEW GUINEA (PNG)". Australian government. 2014-04-03. Archived from the original on 2015-03-01. Retrieved 2018-07-09. "Help develop the PNGDF’s capacity to secure its borders, contribute to United Nations (UN) and multilateral peacekeeping missions, and cooperate with the ADF in areas such as disaster relief." 
  4. 4.0 4.1 Hamish Hastie (2018-05-30). "Wrapped up with a bow: First Pacific patrol boat hits the water". Sydney Morning Herald. Archived from the original on 2019-12-19. Retrieved 2018-07-09. "The $335 million Pacific patrol boat program was awarded to Austal in 2016 and will see 21 'Guardian Class' boats built in WA and gifted to 12 Pacific Island countries and East Timor as part of the Pacific maritime security program." 
  5. Gabriel Dominguez (2018-12-03). "Papua New Guinea receives first Guardian-class patrol boat". Jane's Defence Weekly (London). Archived from the original on 2018-12-03. Retrieved 2018-12-03. "The steel-hulled boat was built with space and weight considerations for a 30 mm naval gun as a primary weapon, as well as port and starboard mounts for 12.7 mm general-purpose machine guns." 
  6. "AGWI, the commander of men". Sunday Chronicle (Papua New Guinea). 2010-01-15. Retrieved 2021-12-01. 
  7. "Papua New Guinea mutiny leader Yaura Sasa arrested". BBC News. 2012-01-29. Retrieved 2021-12-01. 
  8. "Toropo heads defence force". The National. 2014-01-09. Retrieved 2021-12-01. 
  9. Morgane Solignac (2021-06-25). "Contracts, Covid and work issues dominate concerns of RSE workers". Archived from the original on 2021-06-24. Retrieved 2021-12-01. "Papua New Guinea High Commission First Secretary Jonathan Kidu, left, Hortus workers Lynne Boyce and Julie Maka, Solomon Islands High Commission Second Secretary and Retired Brigadier John Kemakeza and Papua New Guinea High Commissioner to New Zealand Francis Agwi, in the vineyard at Boyce Block." 
  10. "AUSTAL AUSTRALIA DELIVERS 13TH GUARDIAN-CLASS PATROL BOAT". Austal. 2021-10-22. Archived from the original on 2021-10-23. Retrieved 2021-12-01. "The vessel is the third of four Guardian-class Patrol Boats to be delivered to Papua New Guinea under the Pacific Patrol Boat Replacement Project (SEA3036-1), part of the Australian Government’s Pacific Maritime Security Program." 

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