First Pacific patrol boat hits the water

Papua New Guinea is set to take the wheel of a brand new Australian patrol boat in October.

The first of 21 patrol boats, to be gifted to Pacific island neighbours, has come off West Australian shipbuilder Austal's production line and was launched on Wednesday.

The contract for the boats is worth close to $335 million and has resulted in 200 direct and 200 indirect jobs in WA.

Twelve Pacific Island countries and East Timor will receive the 39.5 metre steel-hulled patrol boats to boost maritime surveillance and combat illegal fishing.