One of the largest bilateral maritime exercises between Australia and Papua New Guinea is underway off Darwin, reinforcing the strong ties between the navies of the maritime nations.
Exercise PARADISE has begun with patrol boat crews from both countries meeting at HMAS Coonawarra, in Darwin.
Australian Exercise Director, Commander Alex Hawes said this year’s iteration promised to be one of the most challenging with a busy schedule of combined navigation, boarding and live fire exercises planned.
He said crews from each country looked forward to the annual exercise, which was designed to strengthen relationships and interoperability between the navies in the areas of maritime surveillance and security.
“Australia has a strong defence relationship with Papua New Guinea based on close geographical proximity and historical ties,” he said.
“On a regional level, Exercise PARADISE strengthens those bonds and also assists both nations to develop professional, capable and sustainable defence forces.
“On a personal level, I know many enduring friendships are made over the course of the exercise.”
Royal Australian Navy vessels that will take part include patrol boats, HMA Ships Larrakia, Maitland and Ararat.
HMPNG Ships Seeadler and Moresby from the PNG Defence Force – Maritime Element will also participate in the phased activities in harbour and at sea.
Professional forums, workshops and exercise briefings prepare crews for an eight-day sea component of graduated training activities such as boarding and navigation operations and live weapon firings.
Opportunities for crews to spend time on the other nation’s boats will be a feature of PARADISE 2017 according to Commander Hawes.
“Cross-decking highlights the considerable goodwill that exists between the crews of the nations involved,” Commander Hawes said.
“It also benefits the individual and navy in that they experience the different systems and procedures of their hosts, which comes in handy when our navies have to work together in a real-life situation.”
Exercise PARADISE is an annual exercise and will continue through until 18 August.