Survey skills strengthened through Aus-Tonga exchange

This article has photo gallery Published on MIDN Nicholas Rubendra (author and photographer), CPL Jessica de Rouw (photographer)

Location(s): Nuku’alofa, Tonga

Topic(s): HMAS Melville (A246), Defence Cooperation Program

HMAS Melville, left, and HMAS Larrakia berthed at Queen Salote Wharf in Nuku’alofa, Tonga. (photo: MIDN Nicholas Rubendra )
HMAS Melville, left, and HMAS Larrakia berthed at Queen Salote Wharf in Nuku’alofa, Tonga.

The ship’s company of the Leeuwin-class survey ship HMAS Melville provided assistance to the maritime branch of His Majesty’s Armed Forces of Tonga during a recent task group visit to Nuku’alofa.

The task group, which includes HMA Ships Adelaide and Larrakia, is part of Australia’s Pacific Step-up and enduring Defence Cooperation Program.

Tongan Naval Hydrographic Surveyor Lieutenant Commander Lakai Holokaukau took the opportunity to enhance his surveying skills and strengthen interoperability between His Majesty’s Armed Forces of Tonga (HMAF) and the Royal Australian Navy.

Lieutenant Commander Holokaukau observed Melville’s crews using single and multi-beam equipment

“Multi-beams are the way of the future.

“I believe hydrographic data collection will eventually all use multi-beam equipment for surveying purposes,” Lieutenant Commander Holokaukau said.

Commanding Officer HMAS Melville, Commander Michael Kumpis, said working with HMAF during the ADF’s visit to Nuku’alofa was a positive.

“By allowing Tonga to use our surveying capabilities and data collection methods we are not only strengthening our already close relationship but also aiding them in growing new sections of their defence force,” Commander Kumpis said.

Tonga and Australia have a strong relationship based on shared ideologies of security, peace and prosperity for all nations in the Pacific.