The Cook Islands Police Service is expected to take full control of its new patrol boat, a Guardian Class vessel in 2022.
Commissioner Maara Tetava anticipated the competition as he received a scale model of the new vessel being built in Australia, to be gifted to the Police Service.
Spokesman Trevor Pitt says this was given by the Australian Defence advisor to the Cook Islands, captain Christine Clarke gifted the model of the vessel last week during annual Defence Cooperation Programme talks.
The new vessel will replace the 30 year-old Te Kukupa that was received around 1989. The vessel has been monitoring the Cook Islands and wider Pacific Ocean, to combat crime such as illegal fishing.
Meanwhile, the defence talks were a chance for the parties to consider broadening opportunities for maritime careers.
Police spokesman Trevor Pitt said: “With the support and assistance of the Australian Navy and government, the handover of the new vessels for the Pacific comes at a time of strengthened gender equity and career opportunity at sea.”
Captain Clarke took time to meet and talk with members of the Police Women’s Advisory Network who have been very supportive of local policewomen, encouraging the development of closer ties and networks through the annual Sevens’ Tournament in Australia, as well as training opportunities for the women to advance their professional careers.
“While there are no present restrictions on women signing up for the Maritime Division, there are improved developments ahead to accommodate and facilitate serving women into patrol boat duties.”
Including the Cook Islands, the boat replacement programme from Australia costs AU$335m for 21 new patrol vessels to be gifted to 12 Pacific Islands and one to East Timor.