HMA Ships Arunta and Sirius are in Subic Bay in the Philippines for a five-day visit. The short break from sea will give the ships’ companies an opportunity to continue their association with Filipino colleagues and experience Philippine culture and sights.
Australian Ambassador Bill Tweddell, who welcomed the crews on arrival said the visit was a reflection of the relationship between the two nations.
“Australia values the deepening engagement with the Philippine Navy,” Ambassador Tweddell said.
The Ambassador was accompanied by Defence Attaché Colonel Bruce Murray.
Australia and the Philippines have a long-standing Defence Cooperation Program on counter-terrorism, maritime security and assistance to the Armed Forces of the Philippines Modernization Program. Recently, Australia gifted two operation-ready Landing Craft Heavy from the Royal Australian Navy to help improve the Humanitarian Assistance Disaster Relief capacity of the Philippine armed forces.
The Royal Australian Navy played a vital part in the Australian Defence Force’s humanitarian efforts in the Philippines in 2013, carrying emergency supplies, water purifiers, generators, earth moving equipment and vehicles to areas affected by Typhoon Yolanda.
The two ships have just completed successful exercises in the Indian Ocean and transited the South China Sea enroute to Subic.
HMAS Arunta is the second Royal Australian Navy ship to bear the name, and has historical ties to the Philippines. The first Arunta took part in the liberation of the Philippines in 1944, including pre-landing bombardments at Leyte Gulf and the Battle of Surigao Strait.
In January 1945 the ship suffered a near miss from a kamikaze at Lingayen Gulf. In July 1946 the first HMAS Arunta carried Commodore John Collins to Manila for the inauguration of the Philippine Republic.
The current HMAS Arunta has another link to the Philippines. Two Filipino-Australian sailors are currently serving as part of HMAS Arunta’s company. Able Seaman Electronics Technician Aaron Scott and Able Seaman Boatswains Mate Matthew Parry will be taking some time off to visit with family in the Philippines.