HMAS Melbourne cleared their lower deck for Commander Joint Task Group 661.1, Captain Jim Hutton on May 29, who flew in to talk to the sailors about their upcoming Indo-Pacific Endeavour 2018 (IPE) mission.
CAPT Hutton spoke about some of the activities they would be taking part in during port visits in Fiji and Tonga.
“We’ll have plenty of opportunities to engage with both the locals and our counterparts from the Republic of Fiji Military Forces (RFMF) in Fiji and His Majesty’s Armed Forces (HMAF) in Tonga,” CAPT Hutton said.
“Some of the highlights of our visit to Fiji will be a touch rugby competition against the RFMF, and a mangrove planting to help combat coastal erosion.
“In Tonga, we’ll be holding some workshops to enhance understanding between HMAF and ourselves, a few friendly sporting matches and gifting them five Unimogs to enhance their ability to respond to local events.”
Melbourne’s Deputy Maritime Logistics Officer Lieutenant Xiaobing Shao said having CJTG on board was a great opportunity to dig into the details of what her ship would be doing over the coming weeks.
“IPE will be a great opportunity to share experiences with some of our South Pacific partners,” she said. “It’s a long time away from home, but the journey will be well worth it.”
HMAS Adelaide joins Melbourne’s visits to Fiji and Tonga for IPE, while HMA Ships Toowoomba and Success will visit Vanuatu and Samoa. All four will participate in Exercise RIM OF THE PACIFIC in Hawaii.
Adelaide, Success and Toowoomba will return to Australia while Melbourne will spend the rest of the year on deployment.
IPE Image gallery: http://images.defence.gov.au/s20181135