Naval forces from Australia and Papua New Guinea have kicked off the bilateral maritime exercise Paradise off the coast of Darwin with patrol boat crews from both countries meeting at Australian Navy base HMAS Coonawarra.
Australian exercise director, Commander Alex Hawes said this year’s iteration promised to be one of the most challenging with a busy schedule of combined navigation, boarding and live fire exercises planned.
He said crews from each country looked forward to the annual exercise, which was designed to strengthen relationships and interoperability between the navies in the areas of maritime surveillance and security.
“Australia has a strong defence relationship with Papua New Guinea based on close geographical proximity and historical ties,” he said.
“On a regional level, exercise Paradise strengthens those bonds and also assists both nations to develop professional, capable and sustainable defence forces.”
Royal Australian Navy vessels that will take part include patrol boats, HMA Ships Larrakia, Maitland and Ararat.
HMPNG ships Seeadler and Moresby from the PNG Defence Force – Maritime Element will also participate in the phased activities in harbour and at sea.
Professional forums, workshops and exercise briefings prepare crews for an eight-day sea component of graduated training activities such as boarding and navigation operations and live weapon firings.
Exercise Paradise is an annual exercise and will continue through until 18 August.