PNG homecoming for trainees

Published on SBLT Max Logan (author), LSIS Peter Thompson (photographer)

Location(s): Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea

Topic(s): HMAS Adelaide (L01), Indo-Pacific Endeavour

HMAS Adelaide (left) and HMAS Ararat enter Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea, during Indo-Pacific Endeavour 2017.  (photo: LSIS Peter Thompson)
HMAS Adelaide (left) and HMAS Ararat enter Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea, during Indo-Pacific Endeavour 2017.

It was a long-awaited homecoming for five Papua New Guinean nationals as Royal Australian Navy amphibious ship HMAS Adelaide sailed into Port Moresby on a recent visit.

Three trainee officers from the Maritime Element of the Papua New Guinea Defence Force were onboard during Adelaide’s recent deployment, having sailed from Singapore on a sea training phase of their course at the Royal Australian Naval College, at HMAS Creswell in Jervis Bay.

Additionally Adelaide has two crew members with strong family connections in Papua New Guinea.

Midshipman Samantha Alua from Koroba in Papua New Guinea’s Hela Province gave family members a tour of Adelaide including work areas and mess decks while in harbour.

Midshipman Meschech Tobi is a trainee officer on the New Entry Officers’ Course and described the training deployment as a valued aspect.

“The sea training deployment has been the most enjoyable aspect of the course so far,” he said.

“I have learnt a number of different leadership styles, which will be valuable for my future career as an officer.”

Midshipman Emanuel Seko from Kimbe in the West New Britain Province was excited to be visiting Port Moresby as part of the deployment.

“Travelling to PNG as well as living and working on a Landing Helicopter Dock has been my favourite part of the course so far.”

Commanding Officer Adelaide Captain Jonathon Earley, said it was pleasing to be able to visit Papua New Guinea during Adelaide’s transit home to Sydney.

“Australia has a long historical and well developed relationship with Papua New Guinea and it is a privilege to be able to bring HMAS Adelaide into Port Morseby,” he said.

“This strong relationship is reflected in having three Papua New Guinean trainee officers on board and providing the opportunity for these junior officers to come into their country with us.”

Captain Earley said there were two Able Seamen as part of the ship’s company who had local family connections.

“There is the opportunity for the relations of these five members to come out to visit the ship. For Adelaide’s two crew members, it has been a number of years since they have connected with their relatives.”

During the visit, members of the Australian Army, Royal Australian Air Force and Royal Australian Navy visited the Bomana War Cemetery after walking a small section of the Kokoda Track. A small service was held to commemorative the sacrifice of Australians and Papua New Guineans during the Kokoda Campaign.

HMAS Adelaide has been deployed throughout the Indo-Pacific as part of task group focussed on enhancing military cooperation with some of Australia’s key regional partners including Indonesia, Japan, India, Malaysia, Singapore, the Republic of Korea, the Philippines, Brunei, Papua New Guinea, Timor-Leste, Thailand, and the Federated States of Micronesia.

The task group deployment demonstrated Australia’s commitment to security and cooperation throughout South-East Asia and the Pacific and the capability and interoperability of the Australia’s amphibious ships in support of humanitarian aid and disaster relief operations.