HMAS Tobruk takes charge at Pacific Partnership
1 September 2010
For the next week, the US-led humanitarian assistance mission Pacific Partnership 2010 will focus on Papua New Guinea where more than 250 Australian Defence Force (ADF) personnel have just arrived.
This year's mission has already visited Vietnam, Cambodia, Indonesia, and East Timor.
Three Royal Australian Navy amphibious ships, including the mission command ship HMAS Tobruk and a United States Navy frigate will conduct the week-long activity in the areas surrounding Rabaul, commencing Friday, 3 September 2010.
Commanding Officer of HMAS Tobruk, Commander Paul Scott said the Australians within the multi-national team will be working with personnel from the Papua New Guinea Defence Force and will provide medical, dental, engineering and community service assistance.
"Our people will work very closely with PNG Defence Force personnel and members of the Pacific Partnership team to achieve the mission. They are all anticipating the rewards that come with this type of work, particularly operating with neighbouring defence force personnel," he explained.
Australian Head of Defence Staff PNG, Colonel Mark Shephard said the heavy Australian commitment to this leg of the PP10 mission reinforces the longstanding bilateral defence relationship between the two countries.
"Our two countries share a relationship strengthened by geographic proximity and historical links. From a Defence perspective we are committed to working closely with the PNG Defence Force to ensuring it is an effective, sustainable and professional force," he said.
"Australia's participation in Pacific Partnership 2010 is a continuation of this work and both defence forces will benefit from the collaborative effort, and working with the US takes it to the next level," said Colonel Shephard.
HMAS Tobruk arrived in Port Moresby yesterday to embark PNG Defence Force personnel and is now enroute to Rabaul. United States Ship Vandegrift will provide additional personnel and ship to shore logistics.
The US-sponsored Pacific Partnership 2010 is a mission intent on improving the capacities of nations and organisations to respond to disasters such as the 2004 Asian tsunami.