Royal Australian Navy landing ship HMAS Choules started a month-long deployment to the Southwest Pacific where it will take part in maritime and land training activities with regional partners.
Choules’ deployment to Papua New Guinea, the Solomon Islands and Vanuatu will contribute to a continuous Australian presence in the Southwest Pacific region, it was said.
Australian defense minister Christopher Pyne said the activity was an early contribution to the Australian government’s enhanced engagement with the Pacific and would continue Australia’s role in promoting the capacity of its regional partners.
“Regional security and stability remains one of the Australian Government’s highest priorities, as demonstrated by this deployment of Choules to the Southwest Pacific,” Pyne said.
Choules departed Townsville with 210 officers, sailors and soldiers on board, after embarking equipment, stores and tools for delivery across the Southwest Pacific region.
Commanding Officer of Choules, Houlihan, said the deployments would help facilitate an enhanced program of training activities, exercises and sporting opportunities.
“The training events and community activities that are planned will provide opportunities for the Ship’s Company to interact, compete and overall contribute to both civil and military communities across the region,” Commander Scott Houlihan, Choules’ commanding officer, said.