Two Royal Australian Navy ships will arrive in Vanuatu on Wednesday, 6 June, as part of Indo-Pacific Endeavour 2018, a major maritime activity that delivers on the Australian Government’s commitment to enhance defence engagement and partnerships with regional security forces in the South West Pacific.
Royal Australian Navy’s HMAS Success and HMAS Toowoomba
HMA Ships Toowoomba and Success will bring more than 370 sailors and soldiers to Port Vila, where they will participate in activities including community outreach, as well as engagement and training with the Vanuatu Police Force.
While in Port Vila, the sailors and soldiers will help repaint the Vila Central Hospital, facilitate a women’s leadership forum and conduct ship tours for schools and community groups.
Engineering sailors will also assist Vanuatu Police Force Maritime Wing with maintenance work on its Pacific Patrol Boat, RVS Tukoro, which was gifted by Australia in 1987. The maintenance is essential to keep the Tukoro running well until it is replaced by a larger, more capable patrol vessel in 2021, also provided by Australia.
“The visit reflects the Australian Government’s ongoing commitment to deepen Australia’s engagement and security partnerships with countries in the Pacific region,” said Australian High Commissioner, Jenny Da Rin.
“Our relationship with Vanuatu and other Pacific Island nations is important to the peace, security and prosperity of our region and Australia is increasing our practical engagement and building on our already strong bonds with our closest neighbours.”
“The Indo-Pacific Endeavour program has been created to build capacity, engage with locals and strengthen the long and enduring friendship that our nations have built over many years, as partners with common values and goals for peace and prosperity in our region,” said Ms Da Rin.
Leading Seaman Boatswain Mate Elliot Smith stands with Sergeant Garry Aru and Police Constable Simon Timothy from the Vanuatu Police Force Maritime Wing on one of the Dock Landing Craft during a guided tour of HMAS Adelaide.
Commander Stu Watters, Commanding Officer of HMAS Toowoomba, said the two ships were part of a four-ship Task Group travelling through the region as part of Exercise Indo-Pacific Endeavour 2018.
“Indo-Pacific Endeavour has fast become one of the most important activities the Australian Defence Force conducts in the Indo-Pacific region – Toowoombaparticipated last year in the inaugural deployment, and we’re honoured that we’re again involved in visiting an important part of our region,” Commander Watters said.
“Maintaining the strong relationships and interoperability we share with our partners in the Vanuatu Police Force is absolutely critical to our ability to effectively and efficiently respond together when natural disasters occur in this region.”
“The benefits of our strong bilateral relationships were most recently demonstrated when Australia responded to a request from the Vanuatu Government last year for HMAS Choules to deliver aid supplies for residents evacuated from Ambae Island.”
Commander Watters said regular engagement, through port visits and training exercises, was really important.
“It provides a great opportunity for the crew to exchange perspectives and learn from our counterparts – our two ships are really looking forward to the visit, a first for many onboard both units,” he said.
HMA Ships Toowoomba and Success will arrive in Port Vila on Wednesday and will be in port for three days.
Four members of the Vanuatu Police Force Maritime Wing will disembark HMAS Success upon arrival in Port Vila, having joined the ship in Townsville. During their four-day transit, the members integrated into the ship’s company, enabling them to experience exactly how the Royal Australian Navy operates at sea.
On completion of her port visit to Port Vila, HMAS Success will continue to Luganville to deliver equipment and supplies to support communities affected by the Lombenben volcano on Ambae island.