Foreign Minister Gerry Brownlee has today handed over four amphibious boats to the Fiji National Disaster Management Office at a ceremony in Suva.

“New Zealand and Fiji have agreed to trial the Sealegs boats in emergency response situations and natural disasters,” Mr Brownlee says.

“Amphibious boats do not require infrastructure to launch, which means the emergency responders will be able to get the vessels in the water more quickly and operate more effectively in flooded urban environments.

“Fiji’s emergency responders will use the vessels to reach stranded people, as well as to get support and supplies to people who have been cut off by flooding or other natural disasters.

“The $1.2 million, two-year trial will see four vessels provided to the Fiji authorities along with other emergency equipment, and a training and maintenance programme.

“The Sealegs boats will complement Fiji’s excellent emergency response systems and boost their disaster response capacity.

“This trial is a partnership between the governments of New Zealand and Fiji, to test innovative technology that will ultimately help save lives and deliver humanitarian assistance when disaster strikes,” Mr Brownlee says.

Mr Brownlee is currently in Suva for his first official visit to Fiji as Foreign Affairs Minister.

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