Description: RAN Tally Band – HMAS Madang – circa 1970s
Maker’s Name: N/A
Condition: Near Mint
Comments: Royal Australian Navy – Tally Band – HMAS Madang – circa 1970s.
HMAS Madang (P 94), named for the settlement of Madang in New Guinea, was an Attack class patrol boat of the Royal Australian Navy (RAN).
The Attack class was ordered in 1964 to operate in Australian waters as patrol boats (based on lessons learned through using the Ton class minesweepers on patrols of Borneo during the Indonesia-Malaysia Confrontation, and to replace a variety of old patrol, search-and-rescue, and general-purpose craft. Initially, fourteen were ordered for the RAN, five of which were intended for the Papua New Guinea Division of the RAN, although another six ships were ordered to bring the class to twenty vessels.
Madang was built by Evans Deakin at Brisbane, Queensland, launched on 10 August 1968, and commissioned on 28 November 1968.
Madang arrived in Port Moresby in March 1969, the last of the five Attack-class boats to be delivered to the RAN PNG Division. Her home port was the RAN base HMAS Tarangau at Los Negros Island, Manus Province.
Primary roles of the new patrol boats were fisheries protection and sea training, but also undertook search and rescue, medical evacuation and monitoring of navigational aids roles. The RAN crew was a made up of both Australian and PNG servicemen. Prior to the arrival of the Attack-class patrol boats, surveillance of PNG waters was conducted by small coastal craft and occasional visits by larger RAN warships, but the PNG Division was now able to chase and apprehend vessels suspected of illegal fishing.
Madang was one the five Attack-class patrol boats of the RAN PNG Division transferred to the Papua New Guinea Defence Force’s (PNGDF) Maritime Element (now Maritime Operations Element) on 14 November 1974 when the PNGDF took over maritime functions from the RAN. They formed the PNGDF Patrol Boat Squadron based at Manus. Given the reported poor state and limited funds of the PNGDF Maritime Operations Element it is to be expected the remaining older Attack-class patrol boats are no longer in service, however the current status of HMPNGS Madang is not known with certainty.