Royal Australian Navy frigate HMAS Parramatta has departed Honiara, Solomon Islands after a three-day visit, to continue a maritime patrol as part of Operation SOLANIA.
The break from sea gave the ship’s company an opportunity to welcome their new Commanding Officer as well as help locals clean up after a recent storm.
Commander Andrew Willis assumed command from Commander Simon Cannell on the first day in port and said the crew were hard at work during their brief stay.
This was the first visit to the Solomon Islands for many of the crew, however the Australian Defence Force regularly engages with the region as part of the Defence Cooperation Program.
“Last year, HMA Ships Labuan, Tarakan and Diamantina supported Operation RENDER SAFE – the Australian led tri-service operation resulted in the disposal of over 12,000 items of unexploded items from the Second World War which improved the safety for many Solomon Islanders,” Commander Willis said.
The Anzac Class frigate, with a crew of 190 and an AS350BA Squirrel helicopter, is over half-way through a deployment to strengthen relationships and promote multilateral security cooperation with Pacific Island nations.
Parramatta is undertaking patrols as part of Operation SOLANIA, which assists South Pacific Island states to protect their own fisheries and natural resources.
“During patrols we provide intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance support to the Pacific Islands Countries to help them secure their Exclusive Economic Zones.
“This is an important contribution to regional security as we are helping to foster economic development. A secure, stable and cohesive South Pacific region is in Australia’s strategic interest,” Commander Willis said.