On the first day of Exercise KAKADU 2014, HMA Ships Sydney and Stuart held an Official Reception last night alongside Fort Hill Wharf, Darwin.
Rear Admiral Stuart Mayer, CSC and Bar, Commander Australian Fleet, hosted the event and warmly welcomed representatives from the exercise’s participating nations including Bangladesh, Cambodia, Japan, The Republic of Korea, Malaysia, New Zealand, Pakistan, Papua New Guinea, Philippines, Singapore,Timor Leste, Vanuatu, Thailand and Tonga.
Rear Admiral Mayer said the next two weeks will provide a rare opportunity for participants to enhance their mutual understanding in a challenging, maritime training environment.
“I firmly believe that our work here together at KAKADU enhances our collective ability to maintain and improve the maritime security of our region,” Rear Admiral Mayer said.
Rear Admiral Mayer also thanked Commander Karl Brinckmann, Commanding Officer of Sydney, and Commander Aaron Nye, Commanding Officer of Stuart, as well as both ship’s companies for their hospitality at the special event.
The Official Reception included a traditional Ceremonial Sunset and a performance by the Royal Australian Navy’s Indigenous Performance Troupe, Bungaree, to showcase Australian culture to the international guests.
Mr Tony Lee, Local Elder of the Larrakia Nation, delivered a traditional welcome to country speech to kick of proceedings.
Mr Lee also made a heartfelt thank you to the Navy for its support.
“To show this respect to culture is magnificent,” said Mr Lee.
During the day, exercise commencement was marked with an Official Opening Ceremony at Larrakeyah Barracks followed by Harbour Week briefs for all Australian and coalition participants covering the first phases of the exercise.
The events are an example of Navy working to strengthen the nation’s close relationships with many of its regional partners.
KAKADU is the Royal Australian Navy’s largest maritime warfare exercise for the year, occurring in and off the coast of Darwin, from the 25 August to 12 September 2014.