At sea with nearest neighbours

This article has photo gallery Published on LSIS Jayson Tufrey (author and photographer)

Location(s): Darwin, Northern Territory

Topic(s): Exercise KAKADU

Members of Her Majesty's Papua New Guinean Ship (HMPNGS) Moresby ship's company are debriefed by the Commanding Officer, Lieutenant Collen Yaperth (centre), while Chief Petty Officer Paul Norton observes, after a fire exercise during Exercise Kakadu 2016. (photo: LSIS Jayson Tufrey)
Members of Her Majesty's Papua New Guinean Ship (HMPNGS) Moresby ship's company are debriefed by the Commanding Officer, Lieutenant Collen Yaperth (centre), while Chief Petty Officer Paul Norton observes, after a fire exercise during Exercise Kakadu 2016.

HMA Ships Glenelg, Albany and Armidale have been spending time sailing in-company with our closest Commonwealth neighbours in the Arafura Sea as part of Exercise KAKADU.
 
Her Majesty’s Papua New Guinean Ships (HMPNGS) Seeadler and Moresby, are Pacific Class Patrol Boats based at Papua New Guinea’s Naval Base on Manus Island, and are conducting officer of the watch manoeuvres ensuring safe ship handling, engineering casualty control drills, man overboard exercises and gunnery serials with the Australian warships.
 
Commanding Officer HMPNGS Moresby, Lieutenant Collen Yaperth, said he has participated in many KAKADU exercises in the past and enjoys coming back regularly to Australia.
 
“We get a lot out of these biennial exercises. These are opportunities to develop our seaman officer skills, gain a better understanding of fleet work and tactical manoeuvres,” he said.
 
“There is always the possibility we will be called upon to work with the Australian Navy for any number of reasons, so it is great to know we can integrate quickly should we need to.
 
“Most of our officer training is done in Australia so many of our procedures are the same,” Lieutenant Collen Yaperth said.
 
Lieutenant Yaperth said working in company with the international fleet at KAKADU presented many challenges and at the same time rewarding.
 
“When working in a combined fleet environment, we have to ensure we are in the right place at the right time and following the correct procedures,” he said.
 
“As the Commanding Officer, I can provide a fantastic training opportunity for the younger officers coming through the ranks. It is rewarding to see the increase in the crew’s skill level as we progress through the graduated program in the exercise.
 
“The highlight has been participating in the officer of the watch manoeuvres with six or more ships in company. That is not something we get to do in Papua New Guinea and it is wonderful to have so many navies working together to practise these essential skills.”
 
Australia’s Sea Training Group is traditionally utilised to prepare crews for an operational deployment. For Exercise KAKADU, the team has embarked in international vessels to ensure serials run smoothly, and work with our regional partners to ensure safety between nations.
 
Chief Petty Officer Boatswain Paul Norton said the Sea Training Group’s role was to train, coach and mentor.
 
“We’re on board to alleviate any communications issues that may arise from misinterpretation of tactical orders.
 
“I’ve been impressed with the professionalism of their crews. We operate in substantially similar ways which helps with running operations in our region.
 
“The Papua New Guinean crew has also been great fun, they enjoy a good laugh while honing the craft of war fighting.”