In support of Operation SOLANIA, HMAS Parramatta conducted a port visit to Honiara, Solomon Islands from 11 – 14 July, to assist in maritime surveillance of the South Pacific Region as coordinated through the Pacific Island Forum Agency.
On arrival, the ship was met by members of the High Commission, and Parramatta’s new Commanding Officer, Commander Andrew Willis.
Following a brief ceremony, and the handing over of the ‘weight,’ the outgoing Commanding Officer, Commander Simon Cannell, was piped ashore one last time, and cheered by ship’s company as he departed.
Commander Willis paid tribute to Commander Cannell’s leadership of Parramatta, saying ‘he always put the interest of the team and ship first.’
During the first day of the port visit, the ship’s medical team spent the afternoon providing first aid training to the Honiara Maritime Unit. The training covered Australian Resuscitation Council Guidelines and Petty Officer Claire Fellows said it was very well received by the local unit.
In the evening, Parramatta hosted an official reception with guests including The Right Honourable Prime Minister of the Solomon Islands, the Australian High Commissioner and the British High Commissioner to the Solomon Islands. The evening was a big success culminating with a traditional naval Ceremonial Sunset, lead by Lieutenant Joel Marrison.
Shortly after sailing, Parramatta held a memorial service above the location where HMAS Canberra (I), lost in World War Two now lies off the coast of the Solomon Islands. A brief history of the Battle of Savo Island was read by Lieutenant Matthew White detailing the short lived battle and remembering the 1100 plus men who lost their lives on the 9 August 1942.
Parramatta is conducting a four week patrol through the South West Pacific to conduct regional engagement and to support the policing the Economic Exclusive Zones of Pacific Island Countries, including operations under the Niue Treaty.
The aim of Operation SOLANIA is to detect and deter illegal, unregulated and unreported fishing activity.