Aussie sailor does his best to prepare for the worst

Published on CAPT Taylor Lynch (author), LSIS Kieren Whiteley (photographer)

Location(s): Port Vila, Vanuatu

Topic(s): Humanitarian and Disaster Relief (HADR)

L-R: Vanuatu Police Force member Sergeant Wutwut Smith; Technical Advisor Vanuatu, Royal Australian Navy sailor Chief Petty Officer Aviation Technician Avionics Troy Pedersen; Vanuatu Police Force Constable Rachel Amkori; and Vanuatu Police Force Constable Johnny Hopkins in Port Vila during Exercise VANUATU ALLIANCE 2019. (photo: LSIS Kieren Whiteley)
L-R: Vanuatu Police Force member Sergeant Wutwut Smith; Technical Advisor Vanuatu, Royal Australian Navy sailor Chief Petty Officer Aviation Technician Avionics Troy Pedersen; Vanuatu Police Force Constable Rachel Amkori; and Vanuatu Police Force Constable Johnny Hopkins in Port Vila during Exercise VANUATU ALLIANCE 2019.

Seaworthy support vessels are essential for natural disaster relief in Pacific nations like Vanuatu.

Doing his bit, Royal Australian Navy Chief Petty Officer Troy Pederson was integral in getting the Vanuatu Police Force (VPF) Maritime Wing vessels operating at their best in case the worst occurs.

As an aviation technician, Chief Petty Officer Pederson is currently posted to Vanuatu as a technical adviser to Republic of Vanuatu (RVS) ships Tukoro and Turorua, and made a significant contribution to Exercise Vanuatu Alliance.

“I hope to achieve further training for all arms of the VPF, to assist them in future disaster relief operations, along with the integration of the Natural Disaster Management Office,” Chief Petty Officer Pederson said.

Held from September 2-20, the exercise enhanced the ability of the Vanuatu police to safely and effectively conduct humanitarian assistance and disaster response across the Vanuatu archipelago.

Chief Petty Officer Pederson, from Ravenshoe in Queensland, has previously been posted to HMAS Adelaide and posted to Vanuatu in January this year.

He has enjoyed working with some unique characters in the VPF to optimise their maritime capabilities.

“The VPF are very proud of their vessels, Tukoro and Turorua, and a very professional bunch of service people, both men and women,” Chief Petty Officer Pederson said.

He also said he had learned a thing or two from working in Vanuatu, where access to resources isn’t always as prevalent and compromise is sometimes needed.

“Australia is fortunate; Vanuatu doesn’t have everything at their fingertips as we do in Australia with components of aircraft, and they do very well with what they have,” he said.

He was optimistic about the relationship between the two nations going forward.

“I see quite a positive future between Australia and Vanuatu with the redevelopment of the wharf at Mala Base next year in preparation for the Pacific Patrol Boat replacement, RVS Guardian, in 2021.”

Imagery is available on the Defence Image Gallery: http://images.defence.gov.au/S20192245.