Personnel exchanges promote regional cooperation

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

Location(s): Darwin, Northern Territory

Topic(s): HMAS Creswell, HMAS Darwin (F04), HMAS Albany (P86), Exercise KAKADU

From left, Midshipmen Kosbi Koyati, from PNG Navy, and Thomas Icke, RAN compare notes on chart work aboard Her Majesty's Papua New Guinean Ship (HMPNGS) Moresby, during Exercise Kakadu 2016. (photo: LSIS Jayson Tufrey)
From left, Midshipmen Kosbi Koyati, from PNG Navy, and Thomas Icke, RAN compare notes on chart work aboard Her Majesty's Papua New Guinean Ship (HMPNGS) Moresby, during Exercise Kakadu 2016.

Two Midshipmen, one from Australia and one from Papua New Guinea, discovered they have a lot in common during Exercise KAKADU.

Midshipman Thomas Icke from HMAS Albany and Midshipman Kosbi Koyati from HMPNGS Moresby have both undertaken training at HMAS Creswell and the pair share mutual friends.

The meeting of two navies saw discussions around training, ships and routines, as well as cultural exchanges that will forge relationships well into the future.

Currently completing training in an Armidale Class Patrol Boat, Midshipman Icke said visiting the Papau New Guinea Pacific Patrol Boat was a highlight of his time on KAKADU.

“This experience has been fantastic and the Papau New Guinean crew are professional and a lot of fun,” Midshipman Icke said.

“It’s interesting to see how different some aspects of seamanship can be and how many things are exactly the same.

“I guess that is a product of the training we share with Papua New Guinea.”

Midshipman Icke said it was great meeting Midshipman Koyati.

“We have so many friends in common, bridging the gap was immediate,” Midshipman Icke said.

“I found it easy to relate as we have similar naval backgrounds with the training at Creswell.”

Midshipman Koyati has been in the Papau New Guinean Navy for nearly two years said he always enjoys his time in Australian on courses and exercises.

“After Exercises KAKADU, I’m looking forward to getting back to Australia to complete more training,” Midshipman Koyati said.

“I love learning about Australian culture and this cross-deck experience reminds me I can’t wait to get back to Australia again soon.”

Since posting to HMAS Albany, Midshipman Icke has participated in Exercise SINGAROO and undertaken Operation RESOLUTE patrols to Christmas and Ashmore Islands.

“During SINGAROO, I was fortunate enough to tour a Singaporean missile corvette. I was able to see Albany conduct her officer of the watch manoeuvres from the other side, which was exciting to see,” Midshipman Icke said.

“I’ve loved my time on Patrol Boats and have another four weeks with Albany before I post to HMAS Darwin for three months where I will not only get to experience life on a frigate but learn about warfare.

“After that, I’m aspiring to become a submariner by 2018. After experiencing the sub familiarisation course last year I decided that is where I want to be.”