Australian first for Pacific Partnership mission

In a first for the Aus­tralian Defence Force, Roy­al Aus­tralian Navy ship HMAS Tobruk will become the com­mand ship for the US-led human­i­tar­i­an assis­tance mis­sion Pacif­ic Part­ner­ship 2010 (PP10)

The ship is the com­mand plat­form for the final leg of the six-coun­try PP10 mis­sion in Papua New Guinea (PNG) and will host per­son­nel from the Unit­ed States Navy, part­ner nations and non-gov­ern­ment organ­i­sa­tions onboard.

From 3 Sep­tem­ber 2010, the mul­ti-nation­al PP10 team will work in the area of Rabaul, PNG, with mem­bers of the PNG Defence Force, non-gov­ern­ment organ­i­sa­tions, and the ship’s com­pa­ny of sup­port­ing ship USS Crom­melin, to con­duct med­ical, den­tal, engi­neer­ing and com­mu­ni­ty ser­vice projects.

The com­mand of PP10 from an Aus­tralian ship is an excit­ing time for both Navies said PP10 Mis­sion Com­man­der Unit­ed States Navy Cap­tain Lisa Franchet­ti.

“Our two Navies have a close-work­ing rela­tion­ship par­tic­i­pat­ing in var­i­ous oper­a­tions and Defence exer­cis­es togeth­er but this is the first time we will com­mand Pacif­ic Part­ner­ship from a non-US Navy ship. The adapt­abil­i­ty and pro­fes­sion­al­ism of the ship’s com­pa­ny has made the tran­si­tion seam­less and I am antic­i­pat­ing a pos­i­tive Com­mand expe­ri­ence aboard Tobruk,” said Cap­tain Franchet­ti.

Com­mand­ing Offi­cer of Tobruk, Com­man­der Paul Scott, said they will depart Dar­win tomor­row hav­ing con­duct­ed per­son­nel exchange and receiv­ing stores for the con­duct of the week-long human­i­tar­i­an assis­tance effort.

“The trans­fer of per­son­nel and onload of car­go was con­duct­ed safe­ly and pro­fes­sion­al­ly. The ship’s com­pa­ny have been prepar­ing for our inter­na­tion­al guests and are look­ing for­ward to enhanc­ing their pro­fes­sion­al rela­tion­ships,” Com­man­der Scott said.

Hav­ing com­plet­ed Oper­a­tion Samoa Assist late last year, the ship’s com­pa­ny will be able to build upon their expe­ri­ence in human­i­tar­i­an assis­tance efforts.

“Last year, under a dif­fer­ent Com­mand­ing Offi­cer, Tobruk deliv­ered more than 500 tonnes of aid to Samoa and Ton­ga fol­low­ing the tsuna­mi in the region. Unfor­tu­nate­ly our region suf­fers nat­ur­al dis­as­ters and as a con­se­quence our Navy needs to be pre­pared to respond when the gov­ern­ment directs us to,” said Com­man­der Scott.

Approx­i­mate­ly 50 ADF per­son­nel have been deployed on USNS Mer­cy in Viet­nam, Cam­bo­dia, Indone­sia and East Tim­or. HMA Ships Labuan and Tarakan have been pro­vid­ing ship to shore logis­ti­cal sup­port in Indone­sia and East Tim­or and will con­tin­ue to do so in PNG.

Pacif­ic Part­ner­ship, as it has been known since 2007, has been spon­sored annu­al­ly by the Com­man­der US Pacif­ic Fleet since the dev­as­tat­ing effects of the Box­ing Day Tsuna­mi in 2004. USNS Mer­cy was on-scene in ear­ly 2005 in response to the tsuna­mi and returned to South­east Asia in 2006.

Media note:
Com­mand­ing Offi­cer HMAS Tobruk, Com­man­der Paul Scott will be avail­able for inter­view between 1:00pm – 3:00pm today. Con­tact Lieu­tenant Kara Wans­bury to arrange inter­view.

Press release
Min­is­te­r­i­al Sup­port and Pub­lic Affairs,
Depart­ment of Defence,
Can­ber­ra, Aus­tralia

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