Ready to fight fire in Kiribati

1 February 2024

Australian Defence Vessel (ADV) Reliant delivered important cargo to the central Pacific island nation, Kiribati, on January 30.

Two fire trucks and various supplies were offloaded at Betio Port in the nation’s capital.

Australian High Commissioner to Kiribati, Karen Bray, welcomed Reliant and its crew and said the cargo would enhance emergency response capabilities on the Tarawa atoll.

“The fire trucks are a gift from the South Australian Country Fire Service to the Government of the Republic of Kiribati,” she said.

“These two fire trucks are quality firefighting vehicles immediately available to the Kiribati Police Service, who provide the firefighting capability in Kiribati. They have been meticulously prepared and supplied with additional equipment by the South Australian Country Fire Service.

“We sincerely hope the fire trucks will not be required in an emergency situation, but it is added peace of mind to have them available and will enable firefighters to hone their skills and practice firefighting drills.

“This donation marks the latest chapter in a long history of collaboration and partnership between the South Australian Country Fire Service and the Kiribati Police Service (KPS).

“For many years now, Australian fire fighters have been providing training and equipment to the KPS to keep I – Kiribati safe. Trucks and equipment were also delivered in 2018 and 2019.”

In addition to the fire trucks, the vessel carried tonnes of other supplies for Kiribati, including education resources, medical supplies, safety equipment and donations.

Royal Australian Navy liaison officer on board Reliant, Lieutenant Commander Paul Newton, said Reliant sailed from Brisbane on January 19.

“We are conducting a patrol through the Pacific, visiting Pacific island countries, delivering stores and equipment and supporting maritime surveillance,” he said.

“It’s a privilege to be able to deliver the much-needed fire trucks, supplies for the Kiribati Guardian-class patrol boat, aid supplies, medical equipment and essential stores for the Australian High Commission on the island.

“The ship is returning to Kiribati for the third time, but for many of the crew, it is our first time here. So it is a real pleasure to pull into Betio Port. A chance for us to learn and to connect with our Pacific family.

“The Kiribati Police Service’s newest recruits to their Police Maritime Unit will also have the opportunity to tour the ship. We’re really looking forward to showing them around.”

Assistant Police Commissioner Kabuaua Uatao and Secretary of the Office of the President (OB), Tebwaatoki Taawetia, accepted the delivery for the government of Kiribati.

“On behalf of the government of Kiribati, I would like to express our sincere gratitude for the generous gift of two fire trucks from the South Australia Country Fire Service,” OB Secretary Taawetia said.

“We are deeply honoured and humbled by this motherhood gesture of solidarity.

“I would like to acknowledge that this is not the first gift that we have received from Australia if we look back over the years.

“However the provision of these fire trucks will undoubtedly enhance the capabilities of Kiribati Police Fire Divisions and every attempt to carry out their fire-fighting duties and will heighten efficiency and effectiveness.

“These fire-fighting vehicles will significantly contribute to the safety and wellbeing of our people. We are genuinely thankful for the trust and confidence that the South Australia Fire Service has placed in our country.

“This partnership serves as a testament to the value of our international cooperation in strengthening our firefighting resources and disaster response capacity. Your generosity will undoubtedly leave a lasting impact on the people of Kiribati by ensuring a safer and more resilient environment.”

Reliant delivers the Australian Government an enduring capability in the Pacific, better enabling Australia to respond to Pacific partners’ requests, and support them in time of need.

The 102-metre long vessel expands the range of Australia’s support across the region, including maritime surveillance, transport of essential cargo and humanitarian assistance and disaster relief.



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