Two members of the Timor-Leste Defence Force got a taste of life onboard a Royal Australian Navy ship when they joined HMAS Choules for the passage between Dili, Timor-Leste, and Cairns.
Lieutenant Jascinto Nascimento and Sub Lieutenant Franscisco da Silva Gaspar were welcomed onboard Choules by its Commanding Officer, Commander Scott Houlihan, after a busy four-day port visit to Dili.
Sub-Lieutenant Gaspar said he and his colleague, who had sailed Navy ships before, were looking forward to developing their skills during their time in Choules.
“As a navigation officer, this sort of experience is very valuable for me,” Sub Lieutenant Gaspar said.
“It allows me to develop my mariner skills in a large ship which is very important for my overall development as a Navy officer.”
He is currently posted to Timor-Leste’s main naval base in Dili, Hera Naval Base, while Lieutenant Nascimento is the Commanding Officer of NRDTL Camenasa, a patrol boat based in Dili.
Sub-Lieutenant Gaspar said as well as participating in personnel exchange programs, a number of Timor-Leste Defence Force members were undergoing training at the Australian Maritime College in Tasmania.
“This is mainly to get us ready to take possession of the Guardian-class patrol boats that the Australian Government will gift to Timor-Leste in 2023,” he said.
Choules sailed from Dili on 22 September - the departure marked the end of a busy port visit for the ship’s company.
Coinciding with the 20th anniversary of INTERFET, the visit focussed on the commemoration of East Timor becoming an independent state in 1999.
A number of events were held to mark the anniversary. The major event marking the commemoration was a parade by veterans, both former and serving members, through the main street of Dili.
There were also a number of social engagements during the visit, including soccer matches between the Australians and their hosts, and a ceremonial sunset which was held onboard Choules.
Imagery is available on the Defence Image Gallery: https://images.defence.gov.au/S20192348.