HMAS Melville delivered a Vanuatu police boat from Port Vila to Loh Island on November 11.

The boat will enable the Ni-Vanuatu people (Vanuatu’s indigenous population) to patrol the area, something that was previously not possible.

This provided a fantastic opportunity for the Royal Australian Navy to assist Australia’s South Pacific neighbour and strengthen relationships in the region.

Six members of Melville’s crew were deployed via sea boat to collect the vessel from Port Vila and tow it back to the ship.

The large vessel presented a challenge. It required Melville’s crew to brainstorm different ways to lift it safely out of the water without damaging it.

On arrival at Loh Island the following day, Melville’s Executive Officer, Lieutenant Commander Sara Barnett, delivered the vessel to Corporal Joe Meto, of the Vanuatu Police Force.

“We would like to thank the Australian Navy for bringing the boat to us,” Corporal Meto said.  

“We have had a lot of difficulty getting it transported from Port Vila to Loh Island.

“This will be the first time that we will be able to conduct police patrols in this area.”

Lieutenant Commander Barnett presented Corporal Meto and Loh Island with a Melville plaque as a memento of the occasion.

Melville’s Commanding Officer, Commander Michael Kumpis, said it had been a great opportunity to help important regional partners and strengthen the Navy’s relationships in our region.

After the successful delivery, the Australian hydrographic survey ship set her course for Tonga, to join HMA Ships Adelaide and Larrakia for the transit to Nuku’alofa.