November 9, 2018 – Australian Defence Force personnel have begun to arrive in Port Moresby as part of Australian Government support to the Government of Papua New Guinea to deliver the 2018 Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) forum.
A small contingent of personnel flew in on a Royal Australian Air Force C-17 Globemaster, and the Royal Australian Navy’s amphibious ship, HMAS Adelaide, has taken up position in full view of APEC House, along with patrol boats HMAS Glenelg and HMAS Larrakia.
Over the coming weeks personnel will support Papua New Guinea to deliver a successful APEC, further enhancing the long-standing partnership between Australia and PNG.
The Australian Maritime Component Commander, Navy Captain Paul O’Grady, said the interoperability also extended offshore.
Major General Paul McLachlan, the senior Australian Defence Force officer on the ground, said HMAS Adelaide’s arrival symbolized the commitment between neighbors to deliver a safe and secure APEC 2018 Leaders’ Week from 12-18 November.
“The most visual aspect of what we have in country at the moment is HMAS Adelaide, which provides a maritime security effect in support of the Papua New Guinea Joint Security Task Force,” Major General McLachlan said.
“The relationships between the PNG Defence Force and the Australian Defence Force, borne out of the Defence Cooperation Program, have been really important in the planning over the last 18 months.
“We have continued our close bond by setting up a partnered operations center to help coordinate security arrangements.”
“We can work effectively together with the Royal PNG Constabulary Water Police and PNG Defence Force,” he said.
HMAS Adelaide’s role is also to provide operational logistics support to Australian personnel in country for the tasking.
A small team of sailors from the PNG Defence Force’s Maritime Division boarded HMAS Adelaide’s embarked landing craft to assist Australian personnel unload marker buoys at HMPNG Basilisk Naval Base in Port Moresby.
Australian Army Corporal Joemike Almoguera, a cargo specialist serving in Adelaide, said he felt grateful for the opportunity to work alongside members of the PNGDF.
“I’ve really enjoyed the experience and hopefully we will get the chance to work together more,” he said.
Adelaide’s Petty Officer Boatswain Matthew Jarvis said the collaboration between the two nations had developed into an excellent working relationship.
“We’ve only been here a short time but already we are interacting really well and getting things done,” he said.
The marker buoys will be dispersed by HMPNG Lakekamu in the lead-up to APEC 2018 Leaders’ Week.
The markers will indicate maritime exclusion zones around APEC House for the duration of the event.
The Commanding Officer of HMPNGS Lakekamu, Royal Australian Navy officer Lieutenant Commander Brenton-James Glover, who has been serving in Port Moresby for two years under the bilateral Defence Cooperation Program, said the activity had been an excellent opportunity to work side-by-side.
Papua New Guinea is hosting a year-long program of APEC meetings throughout 2018, culminating in the Leaders’ Summit of Presidents and Prime Ministers from 21 Pacific Rim member economies from 12-18 November.