Defence ties between Australia and Papua New Guinea were strengthened during Exercise Paradise in waters off Cairns.
Two Royal Australian Navy heavy landing craft, HMA Ships Labuan and Tarakan, spent a week at sea with two PNG Defence Force patrol boats, HMPNG Ships Moresby and Rabaul. Armidale-class patrol boat HMAS Bundaberg also contributed to the exercise while in transit to border protection operations.
Lieutenant Commander Steve Woodman, Commander Minor War Vessel Sea Training, said the annual exercise is an important opportunity to develop teamwork between our two nations.“During Paradise, our vessels undertook a range of exercises that became progressively more challenging and tested the seamanship and mariner skills of all participants,” LCDR Woodman said.
“We started with a valuable harbour phase which included a number of desktop forums. The following week we commenced the sea phase and conducted a range of evolutions including coordinated patrols and combined maritime surveillance operations, safety of life at sea, search and rescue exercises and a spirited amphibious operation.
The RAN and Papua New Guinea Defence Force Maritime Element have a long history of close cooperation. By training together in exercises like Paradise we build confidence and improve our ability to conduct joint operations to protect our common maritime interests.”
Exercise Paradise ran parallel to Exercise Triton Thunder 02-12, a bi-annual exercise which tests the preparation of smaller units in the RAN Fleet to meet their mission of fighting and winning at sea.