More than 200 international naval personnel are working to make a difference in the world’s newest nation in landlocked South Sudan.
Among them are three Australian Navy maritime logistics officers serving with the United Nations Mission in South Sudan in support, admin and logistics roles.
One of those is Lieutenant Commander Kylie Robson, the deputy chief of logistics at the headquarters.
“South Sudan has limited logistics infrastructure that is able to support the transportation and movement of stores and equipment,” she said.
“Add to this a wet season that essentially turns roads in into rivers that are impassable for vehicle convoys.”
Lieutenant Commander Robson has worked closely with the Bangladesh Force Marine Unit who escort our barges up and down the river Nile to ensure their safe passage.
“The highlight of my deployment has been working with the Bangladeshi Unit.”
“They are absolute professionals who go above and beyond to meet operational requirements.”
The Bangladeshis escort vital logistic and humanitarian stores to United Nations bases located in the north of the country and play a critical role in the mission, aiding the quest for peace in the war-torn county.
The Bangladesh Force Marine Unit operate six Defender class response boats and six Rigid Hull Inflatable Boats from Juba and Malakal in South Sudan.
The wet season, which is fast approaching in South Sudan, typically makes up to 90 per cent of the roads impassable, leaving townships to the north of the country isolated and vulnerable.
By ensuring safe barge movement during this period, Bangladesh Force Marine Unit will significantly extend the reach and capacity of the mission.
During their short time in country, the Australian Navy members have worked closely with the Bangladesh Force Marine Unit to facilitate and support their role in the mission.
The United Nations Mission in South Sudan also includes navies from countries like the Netherlands, India, Norway, Fiji, Russia, Brazil, Poland and El Salvador.
“I have enjoyed meeting and working with civilians, military and police from all over the world,” Lieutenant Commander Robson said.
“This is a very challenging role for a Maritime Logistics Officer.”
Imagery available at: http://images.defence.gov.au/S20152313