Royal Australian Navy ship HMAS Parramatta visited Noumea, New Caledonia between Friday 27 and Sunday 29 June before commencing a patrol as part of Operation SOLANIA.
The Anzac Class Frigate spent three days in Noumea strengthening relationships with the French Armed Forces New Caledonia (FANC) and promoting multilateral security cooperation.
Commanding Officer of Parramatta, Commander Simon Cannell said the visit provided professional insight to enhance operations and exercises within the region.
“France is a valuable partner with Australia in the Pacific. We regularly participate in combined force training exercises for emergency and disaster relief and operations against illegal fishing.
“While in Noumea, we conducted a cultural exchange and took part in joint maritime patrols with French Navy Ship Vendémaire, which visited Australia for the 2013 International Fleet Review,” Commander Cannell said.
Following the visit, Parramatta will now commence an Operation SOLANIA patrol, continuing the Australian Defence Force’s enduring role in the South West Pacific.
“Operation SOLANIA is an ongoing maritime surveillance operation which supports Pacific Island states in their enforcement of fisheries law within their Exclusive Economic Zones,” Commander Cannell said.
“Supporting Pacific Island states to protect their own fisheries and natural resources fosters economic development, prosperity and stability.
“A secure, stable and cohesive South Pacific region is in Australia’s strategic interests.”
Parramatta is currently deployed on a four week South West Pacific deployment, which also includes visits to Port Vila and Honiara to strengthen relationships and security cooperation with Pacific Island nations.
Press Release, June 30, 2014; Image: Australian Navy