When New Entry Officers’ Course 61 commenced training at the Royal Australian Naval College in July, the cohort of 130 new trainee officers included the first officer of the Tuvalu Police Service to ever attend the Australian initial entry officers’ course.
The intake also included Navy and Maritime Police Officers from Timor Leste, Papua New Guinea, the Philippines and Thailand, reflecting the Royal Australian Navy’s positive relationships with nations throughout the Indo-Pacific region.
Constable Walter Esela, 27, of the maritime surveillance unit of the Tuvalu Police Service, hails from a family of sea farers.
His father worked as a sailor in the merchant industry before currently serving as a training instructor at the maritime training facility. His older brother is also an ambitious sailor.
Initially, Walter pursued a career as a merchant sailor, which allowed him to travel the globe working aboard a wide variety of cargo vessels.
After time as a merchant mariner, Walter decided to pursue a different career trajectory and joined the Tuvalu Police Service.
This change of career direction is what brought him to Australia to join the New Entry Officers’ Course at HMAS Creswell.
Constable Esela has now successfully graduated alongside his peers at the Royal Australian Naval College and has returned home to his wife and two children, with the same knowledge and experience gained by Royal Australian Navy officers on completion of their time at Creswell.
This investment in the professional development of our regional partners through supporting the training of mariners like Walter is an integral part of the Royal Australian Navy’s role in our region.
Welcoming students from across the Indo-Pacific region also provides the Australian junior officers who pass through Creswell the opportunity to form friendships that will benefit them throughout their careers as professional mariners.
Midshipman Ryan Sutherland said he enjoyed sharing his New Entry Officers’ Course experience with peers from neighbouring nations.
“It’s been an honour training alongside our friends from across Southeast Asia and the Pacific, and we’ve made lifelong friendships.
“We look forward to working with them in the future to enhance the security, prosperity and sovereignty of our region,” Midshipman Sutherland said.
Like Australia, Tuvalu is also an independent member of the Commonwealth, and it’s the duty of Tuvalu’s Police Service to perform maritime rescue and safety, fishery patrol and anti-smuggling missions throughout their sovereign waters.
Australia and Tuvalu share a strong and enduring security partnership. In 1994, Australia provided a patrol vessel to assist Tuvalu in executing maritime operations, which was replaced in April 2019 with a larger and more capable Guardian Class Patrol Boat under the Pacific Maritime Security Program.
Australian and Tuvaluan personnel have also worked together on operations, including the Regional Assistance Mission to Solomon Islands (RAMSI).