Australia’s relationship with Indonesia was highlighted last month when Chief of Navy Vice Admiral Tim Barrett visited Jakarta and the crew of HMAS Wollongong participated in an International Fleet Review.
Wollongong was a key feature of the review hosted by the Indonesian Navy, in Central Sulawesi.
'Sail Tomini' involved naval assets from Indonesia, Australia, Malaysia, South Korea, China and Singapore.
The event began with the traditional harbour phase which included sporting and social activities, culminating in an impressive sail past.
Indonesian President Joko Widodo personally attended the event to take the salute.
Commanding Officer Wollongong Lieutenant Commander Tony Ryder said the crew was made to feel welcome.
"Our Indonesian hosts made every effort to include us at each event," Lieutenant Commander Ryder said.
"Many photographs were taken, and at each opportunity the admiral in charge was keen to ensure we were right alongside him."
That sense of inclusion took an unusual turn when Lieutenant Commander Ryder was asked by the Admiral to assist the Indonesians in conducting an ice breaker game during the event’s official breakfast.
The game required national representatives to lift up Lieutenant Commander Ryder’s seat with just one finger – symbolising the strength and unity of mariners.
"For the record, there were no serious accidents," Lieutenant Commander Ryder said.
"The ice was certainly broken and a good time was had by all."
To the south of Sulawesi in the capital Jakarta, Vice Admiral Barrett was also focused on the regional relationship.
Vice Admiral Barrett was a guest of his Indonesian counterpart Admiral Ade Supandi at the Indonesian Navy’s Second International Maritime Security Symposium.
Vice Admiral Barrett delivered a keynote address to assembled regional nations on ways to strengthen confidence building and mutual cooperation in the region.
Vice Admiral Barrett Barrett ended his visit by signing an agreement to enhance the Royal Australian Navy's cooperation with the Indonesian Navy.
"Recent joint sea and air patrols between the Australia and Indonesia were extremely successful," Vice Admiral Barrett said.
"I am very hopeful we will see further joint activities in the near future.
"Both Australia and Indonesia share an interest in maintaining peace and security in our immediate region."
Lieutenant Commander Ryder agreed and said the ship’s company of Wollongong enjoyed participating in the review.
‘It’s vital for us to maintain an enthusiastic multilateral approach to peace and security,” Lieutenant Commander Ryder said.
“In my experience, the Indonesian Navy and the Royal Australian Navy have a very strong bond which is supported at many levels.”