The Royal Australian Navy Frigate HMAS Parramatta departed Sydney this week on a three week deployment to the South Pacific, as part of Australia’s Operation SOLANIA.
Commanding Officer, Commander Simon Cannell said Parramatta’s patrol will take the Anzac Class frigate to Noumea, Port Vila and Honiara to strengthen alliances and promote security cooperation in the South Pacific region.
“Operation SOLANIA is an ongoing maritime surveillance operation which supports Pacific Island states in their enforcement of fisheries law within their Exclusive Economic Zones.
“Supporting Pacific Island states to protect their own fisheries and natural resources fosters economic development, prosperity and stability.
“And a secure, stable and cohesive South Pacific region is in Australia’s strategic interest,” Commander Cannell said.
For many members of the crew the deployment will be an opportunity to explore places that are close to home, but rarely visited by Australians.
“For some of the crew this is the first time they will have deployed off the Australian station, or even go overseas, so they are looking forward to having a fantastic experience,” Sub-Lieutenant Louella Yu said.
During their visit the crew will be working hard with community development engagement activities, including rebuilding activities in Honiara following the recent devastating floods.
“The crew are extremely excited about spending some time ashore in the south-west Pacific where we will get the opportunity to work with and help out the local communities,” Chief Petty Officer Michael Bryant said.
Another aspect of Parramatta’s deployment will be the continued development of defence and constabulary relationships, such as joint maritime patrols with French Navy Ship (FNS) Vendémaire in New Caledonia, and a joint training exercise with the Pacific Patrol Boat RVS Tukoro in Vanuatu.
“FNS Vendémaire honoured the Royal Australian Navy by participating in the International Fleet Review in 2013, so we are pleased to be able to continue that relationship during our visit to New Caledonia,” Commander Cannell said.
Operation SOLANIA was endorsed by the Government of Australia in February 1987 and initially involved only the Royal Australian Air Force.
From early 2009 Royal Australian Navy vessels transiting SOLANIA’s area of operations have been assigned to the operation to provide reporting of any activity of interest.
With an embarked ship’s company of 190, the Fleet Base East based Parramatta is the fifth of eight Anzac Class Frigates built for the RAN.
Imagery is available on the Navy Image Library at http://images.navy.gov.au/S20141844.