HMAS Choules on Pacific tour

HMAS Choules has deployed on a month-long activity for maritime and land training with Australian regional partners in the south-west Pacific.

FILE PHOTO (Feb 2019): Royal Australian Navy ship HMAS Choules serves as Flag Ship for the 2019 Royal Hobart Regatta on Tasmania’s Derwent River. Photo by Petty Officer Justin Brown.

HMAS Choules, an amphibious landing ship, departed Townsville on 19 February bound for Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands and Vanuatu, where Australian Defence Force personnel will undertake an extensive program of bilateral training with regional militaries and other government agencies.

Minister for Defence Christopher Pyne said the activity was an early contribution to the Australian government’s Pacific ‘Step Up’ announced by the Prime Minister last November.

“Regional security and stability and promoting the capacity of our regional partners remains one of the Australian government’s highest priorities, as demonstrated by this deployment of HMAS Choules to the south-west Pacific,” Minister Pyne said.

“This activity will enhance Australia’s engagement in the region, strengthen our regional relationships and assist in the building of regional partner capacity.

“Australia and the south-west Pacific have partnerships built on historical and community links as well as shared trade, investment and security interests.”

The deployment marks the beginning of several joint activities with regional partners in the Pacific scheduled this year.

HMAS Choules, her ship’s company and other ADF personnel will return to Townsville in March.

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Brian Hartigan

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