One of Australia’s long-standing regional relationships, spanning more than seven decades, was celebrated during HMAS Melbourne’s recent visit to Brunei Darussalam.
Participating in the Indo-Pacific Endeavour deployment, Melbourne was officially welcomed alongside Muara wharf by an honour guard and to a rendition of Adele’s ‘Rolling in the Deep’ performed by the Royal Brunei Navy Band.
Coinciding with His Royal Highness, the Sultan of Brunei’s Golden Jubilee, Melbourne hosted senior members of the Government, Ministry of Defence and diplomatic corps.
An official reception was attended by First Admiral (Rtd) Dato Aziz, Deputy Minister for Defence, Her Excellency Ms Nicola Rosenblum, Australia’s High Commissioner to Brunei Darussalam, and Perhin Major General Tawih, Commander of the Royal Brunei Armed Forces.
Commanding Officer Melbourne, Commander Charles Bourne, said the conversation quickly turned to mountain biking.
“It became apparent Melbourne’s Deputy Marine Engineering Officer, Lieutenant Josh Fearnley, would be competing against a number of the Brunei Armed Forces’ senior leadership, including the Deputy Commander of Joint Forces, in the upcoming Asian Enduro Mountain Biking Series,” Commander Bourne said.
The deployment is as part of a Joint Task Group, commanded by Captain Jonathon Earley, who said the visit to Brunei by Melbourne was an essential step in maintaining a long-standing relationship.
“We greatly value our bilateral defence relationship with Brunei Darussalam,” Captain Earley said.
“Australia has a long-standing and genuine relationship with Brunei which we see as an enduring feature of our engagement in the region.”
Over the course of the visit, Melbourne hosted international officers from the Brunei Command and Staff Course and 25 school students for ship tours, with demonstrations in seamanship, damage control, and diving.
Members of Melbourne’s ship’s company also challenged the Brunei Armed Forces to a quick game of beach volleyball before returning to sea.