HMAS Leeuwin arrived in Pohnpei, Federated States of Micronesia, ahead of the inauguration of the country’s ninth President, David W Panuelo, on 29 July 2019.
The ship provided a setting for a celebratory luncheon honouring President Panuelo, jointly hosted by the Honourable Alex Hawke, MP, Assistant Defence Minister and Minister for International Development and the Pacific and the Honourable Robert Wilkie, United States Secretary of Veterans Affairs.
Both Leeuwin and the United States Coast Guard Cutter Kiska hosted ships’ tours prior to the luncheon, demonstrating the flexible and innovative capability of both vessels to the assembled guests, who included Ambassador Robert Riley, US Ambassador to the Federated States of Micronesia; the Honourable Lorin Robert, Secretary of Foreign Affairs, Federated States of Micronesia; and Mr Pat Conroy, MP, Shadow Minister Assisting for Defence, and Shadow Minister for International Development and the Pacific.
Commanding Officer of Leeuwin, Commander Richard Mortimer, appreciated the opportunity for the crew to be part of a momentous occasion for the Federated States of Micronesia.
“Leeuwin is very happy to be able to play a part in the inauguration of President Panuelo, and to be able to co-host today’s luncheon with the US Coast Guard Cutter Kiska,” Commander Mortimer said.
“This is the culmination of a ten week deployment conducting regional engagement with our Pacific and South East Asian partners, and we embrace these opportunities to build on established relationships with our friends throughout the South West Pacific.
“While we are a small ship’s company of some sixty sailors, the global reach demonstrated by Leeuwin over the last year is something the crew can be rightly proud of, and we look forward to further significant deployments over the next year.”
The Federated States of Micronesia consists of four States spread across the Western Pacific Ocean: Yap, Chuuk, Pohnpei and Kosrae. The four States are made up of around 607 islands, ranged across an area of ocean approximately 2700km in length.
Leeuwin will be involved in a number of ceremonial and celebratory activities in Pohnpei, the final port visit of her deployment, before beginning the journey home to Cairns.