Maritime Unit gifted branded new lifejackets from Australia

Samoa Maritime Police are the proud owners of brand new lifejackets thanks to the Australian Defence Cooperation Programme.

The 19 jackets, worth T$21,585, are personal flotation devices and boarding party life jackets for the Nafanua team. They replace very old life vests, and are Samoa Police branded.

Royal Australian Navy Lieutenant Commander Andrew Dobb, alongside Australian High Commissioner, Sara Moriarty, presented the jackets to Police Commissioner Fuiavailili Egon Keil and the Maritime Unit crew.

“It’s great to see there are two different types, and that one will be used in support of the Games, which will help make sure that the operational safety of the games is paramount,” Ms. Moriarty said.

There are 10 personal flotation devices, which Lieutenant Commander Dobb said would be used not only in everyday maritime work but also for police to support water activities during the Pacific Games, such as during the triathlon, outrigging canoeing, ocean swimming and sailing competitions.

And the nine boarding party life jackets are fully kitted out with features like a hands free water bottle, and a buoyancy bladder capable of supporting 150kgs. 

“As we prepare for the Pacific Games, this is going to be very handy,” said Fuivailili.

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“As you can see the old ones they’re pretty ugly, they’re probably outdated, expired, so we’ve got a lot of fancy equipment and we’re really appreciative of the Australian government for giving us this stuff.”

By the time the eagerly anticipated Nafanua 2 arrives in September to replace the Nafanua currently in use, the maritime crew will be fully practiced with their new kit, Lieutenant Commander Dobb said.

The funds for the jackets are from the annual budget for watercrafts from the Australian Defence Cooperation Program.

Lieutenant Commander Dobb expects them to last five to ten years.

“It depends on how much use they get. The boarding ones won’t get as much use as the flotation ones, because they’ll be used all the time, so maybe they will have to be replaced sooner.”

A 21-strong Nafanua crew will take the 6,500 nautical mile journey to Perth in June to train in preparation to receive Nafanua 2 and return it to Samoa in September.

“They’re excited, they’re all going together as the ship, the crew. They’re looking forward to it, the lot.”

The new ship is 31 and half metres long and weighs 310 tonnes – nearly double the size in tonnage of the Nafanua and will have small cabins, rather than a big mess arrangement. That will enable more women to join the forces knowing they will have certain privacies, Lieutenant Commander Dobbs said.

The 11 remaining maritime staff will be joined by other police to staff the Pacific Games requirements.

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