Ready, willing and able

This article has photo gallery Published on LCDR Alistair Tomlinson (author), ABIS Tom Gibson (photographer)

Location(s): Townsville, QLD

Topic(s): Operation PACIFIC ASSIST

Soldiers from HMAS Tobruk load a front end loader onto their ship as part of the supplies the ship will carry to Vanuatu to help support Operation PACIFIC ASSIST.

 (photo: ABIS Tom Gibson)
Soldiers from HMAS Tobruk load a front end loader onto their ship as part of the supplies the ship will carry to Vanuatu to help support Operation PACIFIC ASSIST.

As HMAS Tobruk steams towards the cyclone ravaged islands of Vanuatu, ship's company and embarked forces are working hard to make sure they are ready to deliver assistance.
 
HMAS Tobruk, Navy’s accomplished amphibious heavy lift ship, departed Townsville recently, bound for Vanuatu where it will deliver much needed disaster relieve supplies.
 
According to Commanding Officer Commander Lief Maxfield, the ship is well placed to lead Australia’s relief efforts, as the ship is capable of quickly dispersing supplies to isolated victims of Cyclone Pam.

Tobruk has recent with experience with humanitarian and disaster relief operations, so we are well trained and prepared to commence operations as soon as we arrive at Vanuatu,” Commander Maxfield said.
 

HMAS Tobruk’s diverse capabilities - including the ability to unload provisions via stern door ramps, crane, or duel operating helicopter decks - will allow the ship to rapidly deliver supplies to selected remote islands.
 
“We are planning for all eventualities with this operation.
 
“Experience has taught us flexibility is critical with the situation on the ground constantly changing, outlining areas regaining contact, and we learn more from reconnaissance.”
 
HMAS Tobruk is expected to arrive at Vanuatu within a matter of days, when it will begin the distribution of support and supplies as part of a whole of Australian Government response to the disaster in Vanuatu.
 
“Every person onboard HMAS Tobruk is keen to contribute to this operation and provide as much assistance as we are able to the people of Vanuatu.

Crew members from HMAS Tobruk load palettes of Australian Aid onto the wharf at the Port of Townsville prior to being loaded onto their ship the morning before they set sail for Operation PACIFIC ASSIST 2015.

Crew members from HMAS Tobruk load palettes of Australian Aid onto the wharf at the Port of Townsville prior to being loaded onto their ship the morning before they set sail for Operation PACIFIC ASSIST 2015.


“All of us realise how devastating it must be for those who have lost everything,” Commander Maxfield said.
 
Tobruk is the Navy's orignal purpose-built amphibious vessel, laid down in 1979, has provided sealift and roll on/roll off heavy transport across the region since.

Imagery is available on the Navy Image Library at http://images.navy.gov.au/S20150618.