22 May 2023
HMAS Toowoomba played host in Singapore, welcoming international guests on board for warship tours and Australian culinary delights.
The tours featured on the schedule when Toowoomba represented the Royal Australian Navy at the International Maritime Defence Exhibition (IMDEX) Asia, alongside the Chief of Navy Vice Admiral Mark Hammond.
IMDEX coincided with the International Maritime Security Conference (IMSC), with both events jointly hosted by the Republic of Singapore Navy and S Rajaratnam School of International Studies.
IMDEX and IMSC collectively garnered an attendance of 47 delegations, which included 22 navy leaders from 38 countries, with the primary agenda topic to consider the security challenges that threaten and disrupt sea lines of communication.
For Able Seaman Tayla Pearson it was a week of firsts, including an overseas port visit, participation in an international maritime event and hosting an official reception.
“I was very excited to arrive in Singapore for my first overseas port visit since I joined the Navy a few years ago,” she said.
“The opportunity to see all of the other warships from different countries in harbour at the same time, and also getting the opportunity to tour them was an experience of a lifetime.
“The highlight was having the opportunity to showcase my skills in hosting an official reception, which is something I was trained to do, but haven’t had the opportunity until now.”
Toowoomba hosted a warship tour for the Senior Minister of State for Defence, Heng Chee How, and Singapore’s Chief of Navy Rear Admiral Sean Wat.
Toowoomba also hosted warship day tours attracting almost 1000 visitors across two days, including several navy chiefs, sailors from foreign navies, industry personnel and Singaporean general public.
The official reception on Toowoomba’s flight deck proved the highlight, with several hundred guests visiting during the three-hour function, enjoying the company of Australian personnel and sampling Australian food and beverages.
It was a great week for Petty Officer Alex Turner, who managed to add to his challenge coin collection during the warship tours.
“I really enjoyed hosting everyone on board Toowoomba over the couple of days,” he said.
“We were able to showcase some of the boarding party and damage control equipment and what life on board an Australian warship looks like.”
Toowoomba ended its time in Singapore with a few days of well-earned respite, giving the ship’s company an opportunity to explore the local attractions.