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May 26, 2011
By CPL Melanie Schinkel
THREE RAN personnel recently joined
the Federated States of Micronesia
(FSM) National Police in Pohnpei to
celebrate the 21st anniversary of patrol
boat FSS Palikir's handover and com-
Australia's Pacific Patrol Boat
Program (PPBP) began in 1987 when
Australia gifted the first-of-class
patrol boat to Papua New Guinea. In
1990, Australia gifted FSS Palikir and
FSS Micronesia, followed by FSS
Independence in 1997.
The RAN Technical Adviser for the
FSM, CPOET Scott Campbell, began
his three-year posting to the FSM in
January 2010 and said the Micronesians
were thankful for Australia's assistance
through the PPBP.
"They are extremely proud to use
the three boats to patrol their vast exten-
sive exclusive economic zone," CPOET
"The 21st anniversary event was
excellent and the coming together of the
former FSM President John Haglelgam
and current FSM President Emanuel
Mori was definitely a highlight."
Australian Ambassador to the FSM
Martin Quinn also attended the event.
"Australia's commitment to this pro-
gram is clear and on this 21st anniversary
I want to congratulate the FSM on its
ownership, on 21 years of faithful ser-
vice of FSS Palikir, and on the progress
you have made in securing your territo-
rial waters and protecting your economic
security," Mr Quinn said.
CPOET Campbell said his posting to
Pohnpei had been rewarding so far and
that his role involved assisting the FSM
National Police with training admin-
istration, overseeing maintenance and
rectifying electrical defects on board
the patrol boats, as well as maintaining
assets within the RAN living compound.
"LCDR Geoff Hart-Davies, CPOMT
Dean Moore and I all take our roles here
very seriously and the FSM National
Police are extremely grateful for our
assistance," he said.
The personnel selected to fill these
positions are chosen based on their abil-
ity to positively represent both Australia
and the RAN. If you would like to be
considered for one of these positions in
the future, contact your career manager
for further information.
Lending a hand
THE Government has chartered
long-range support ship Aurora
Australis to cover HMAS Tobruk's
maintenance period in Sydney.
Defence Minister Stephen Smith
and Defence Materiel Minister
Jason Clare provided an update on
the RAN's amphibious ship capa-
bility on May 11 in light of recent
developments and maintenance
The statement said Tobruk was
docked in Sydney for previously
announced maintenance, expected
to take around two months.
"To ensure Australia has an
amphibious capability during this
period, the Government has char-
tered the long-range support
ship Aurora Australis from P&O
Maritime Services from May 8 to
June 30, with options for an exten-
sion up to a month," the statement
"Aurora Australis is a 94-metre
Super Icebreaker. It can carry 700
tonnes of cargo, transport 116 pas-
sengers, embark watercraft and sup-
port helicopter operations.
"The charter of this vessel will
help ensure that Australia is able to
respond to humanitarian assistance
and disaster relief incidents over
The lease will cost $3.375 mil-
lion and will be met from within
existing Defence resources. If
required for operations it can be
supported by a guided missile frig-
ate as well as heavy landing craft.
The charter of the Aurora
Australis is in addition to
Australia's agreement with New
Zealand that the amphibious lift
ship HMNZS Canterbury will be
made available as part of the joint
Pacific-focused Ready Response
Force during Tobruk's maintenance
period, subject to any operational
requirements in New Zealand.
Tobruk is also scheduled for
routine maintenance for around a
six-week period in September and
October to prepare the ship ahead of
the cyclone season.
The statement said detailed
planning was under way to ensure
Australia had an amphibious capa-
bility during this period.
"Options under considera-
tion include ongoing cooperation
with New Zealand over the use of
Canterbury, Aurora Australis and a
range of commercial options."
The Government announced on
April 6 that Australia had been suc-
cessful in its bid to acquire the UK's
Bay-class amphibious ship Largs
Bay at a cost of $100 million.
Australia has since signed
a Letter of Intent with the UK
Government and the first two pay-
ments of £22 million each ($A66
million in total) have been made on
The statement said a sea trial of
the ship had also been conducted.
"The trial was conducted in two
phases -- a harbour phase from April
11-17 followed by the at-sea phase
from April 18-19," the statement
"Defence's final report on the
sea trial confirms that the ship is in
good materiel state."
International shipping firm,
Teekay Shipping Australia, thor-
oughly inspected the ship before the
submission of Australia's bid and
found that the ship presented very
well and, from a technical point of
view, there were no major defects.
Teekay was also engaged on the
sea trial and has provided an updat-
ed report that confirms its previous
The Government will now give
consideration to what modifica-
tions are necessary for Australian
use of Largs Bay, with such work
on the ship subject to Government
The ship remains on track to
arrive in Australia by the end of the
year in time for it to be operational
in Australia in early 2012.
ON TRACK: Australia's purchase of the UK's Bay-class amphibious ship Largs Bay is on track and
the ship is scheduled to be operational in Australia in early 2012. Inset: HMAS Tobruk at anchor in
Simpson Harbour, Papua New Guinea, during Pacific Partnership 2010.
Photos: UK Ministry of Defence and LSIS Andrew Dakin
ON PARADE: The Federated States of
Micronesia (FSM) Maritime Police stand on
parade to mark the 21st anniversary of patrol
boat FSS Palikir's handover and commissioning
while, inset, CPOET Scott Campbell is
currently posted to the FSM.
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