HMAS Choules has farewelled Port Vila, Vanuatu following four days of bilateral training and engagements.
The ship was welcomed on 11 March 2019 with a guard of honour from the Vanuatu Mobile Force and the music of the Vanuatu Police Force Band.
Traditional Futuna Tribesmen also performed a customary welcome and escorted the Commander Task Group 637, Commander Phillipa Hay and Commanding Officer HMAS Choules, Commander Scott Houlihan to a formal welcome ceremony.
Commander Hay said she and her team were delighted to have had the opportunity to visit Vanuatu.
“Our personnel conducted a comprehensive program of training and engagement specifically designed to support the needs of the Vanuatu Police Force and Vanuatu Mobile Force, along with the Police Maritime Wing,” Commander Hay said.
“We also assisted with an important maintenance task for the Vanuatu Ship Tukoro.
“Australia is committed to taking its engagement with regional neighbours to a new level.
“Long term and tailored initiatives, developed in cooperation with our Pacific partners, will help build a region which is prosperous, secure and respectful of sovereignty.”
The Australian team was also busy engaging with the people of Vanuatu through community working groups, Australian Army Band concerts, women’s development programs, sporting events and key leadership engagements.
Commander Houlihan said the Joint Task Force was honoured to participate in the commemoration ceremony for Tropical Cyclone Pam, which devastated many of the Vanuatu provinces in 2015.
“This week was an opportunity to pause and reflect on the devastating effects of Cyclone Pam and remember our combined efforts in its wake to assist our neighbours in their recovery,” Commander Houlihan said.
HMAS Choules will depart Vanuatu today to return to Australia.