Melville delivers police boat to Loh Island

This article has photo gallery Published on MIDN Cooper Woods (author), ABHSO Rebecca Churches (photographer), LCDR Sara Barnett (photographer), LCDR Neil Davenport (photographer), CMDR Michael Kumpis (photographer)

Location(s): Loh Island, Vanuatu

Topic(s): HMAS Melville (A246), Pacific Maritime Security Program (PMSP)

HMAS Melville’s Executive Officer Lieutenant Commander Sara Barnett presents Corporal Joe Meto, Vanuatu Police Force with an HMAS Melville plaque on the safe delivery of the Vanuatu Police Boat to Loh Island. (photo: ABHSO Rebecca Churches)
HMAS Melville’s Executive Officer Lieutenant Commander Sara Barnett presents Corporal Joe Meto, Vanuatu Police Force with an HMAS Melville plaque on the safe delivery of the Vanuatu Police Boat to Loh Island.

HMAS Melville has delivered a watercraft from Port Vila to Vanuatu police in the vicinity of Loh Island.

The watercraft will now enable the Ni-Vanuatu people (Vanuatu’s indigenous population) to patrol the area, something that was previously not possible.

This provided a fantastic opportunity for the Royal Australian Navy to assist Australia’s South Pacific neighbour Vanuatu and strengthen relationships in the region.

Six members of Melville’s crew were deployed via sea boat to collect the watercraft from Port Vila and tow it back to the ship.

Being quite large, the watercraft presented a challenge and required Melville’s crew to brainstorm different ways to lift the vessel safely out of the water without damaging it.

On arrival to Loh Island the following day, Melville’s Executive Officer, Lieutenant Commander Sara Barnett, delivered the vessel to Corporal Joe Meto of the Vanuatu Police Force.

“We would like to thank the Australian Navy for bringing the boat to us,” Corporal Meto said.

“We have had a lot of difficulty getting it transported from Port Vila to Loh Island.

“This will be the first time that we will be able to conduct Police patrols in this area.

“Thank you very much,” Corporal Meto said.

Lieutenant Commander Barnett presented Corporal Meto and Loh Island with a Melville plaque as a memento of the occasion.

Melville’s Commanding Officer, Commander Michael Kumpis said it had been a great opportunity to help important regional partners and strengthen the Royal Australian Navy’s relationships in our region.

With both the Vanuatu Police and Melville pleased with the successful delivery of the vessel, the Australian Hydrographic Survey ship set her course for Tonga, to join HMA Ships Adelaide and Larrakia for the transit into Nuku’alofa.