First arrivals prepare for successful APEC
7 November 2018
Australian Defence Force personnel from all three services have arrived in Port Moresby as part of Australian Government support to the Government of Papua New Guinea to deliver the 2018 Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) forum.
A small contingent of personnel flew in via a Royal Australian Air Force C-17 Globemaster, and the Royal Australian Navy’s amphibious ship, HMAS Adelaide, has taken up position in full view of APEC House, along with patrol boats HMAS Glenelg and HMAS Larrakia.
Over the coming weeks Australian sailors, soldiers and airmen and women will support Papua New Guinea to deliver a safe and secure APEC, further enhancing the long-standing partnership between Australia and PNG.
The Australian Defence Force is providing high-end security capabilities and assistance, including a partnered and joint headquarters, airspace and maritime security, and additional Army capabilities in support of the Papua New Guinea Defence Force.
Australian Army Maj-Gen Paul McLachlan, Commander of the Joint Task Force supporting PNG, said the ADF’s arrival symbolised the commitment between neighbours to deliver a safe and secure APEC 2018 Leaders’ Week from 12-18 November.
“The most visual aspect of what we have in country at the moment is HMAS Adelaide, which provides a maritime security effect in support of the Papua New Guinea Joint Security Task Force,” Maj-Gen McLachlan said.
“The relationships between the PNG Defence Force and the Australian Defence Force, borne out of the Defence Cooperation Program, have been really important in the planning over the last 18 months.
“We have continued our close bond by setting up a partnered operations centre to help coordinate security arrangements.”
The Australian Maritime Component Commander, Navy Captain Paul O’Grady, said the interoperability also extended offshore.
“We can work effectively together with the Royal PNG Constabulary Water Police and PNG Defence Force,” he said.
A small team of sailors from the PNG Defence Force’s Maritime Division boarded HMAS Adelaide’s embarked landing craft to assist Australian personnel unload marker buoys at HMPNG Basilisk Naval Base in Port Moresby.
Australian Army Corporal Joemike Almoguera, a cargo specialist serving aboard Adelaide as part of the embarked Army amphibious capability, said he felt grateful for the opportunity to work alongside members of the PNG Defence Force.
“As an Australian soldier, I’ve really enjoyed the experience working with my PNG counterparts and I hope l get the chance to do it again,” he said.
Adelaide’s Petty Officer Boatswain Matthew Jarvis said the collaboration between the two nations had developed into an excellent working relationship.
“We’ve only been here a short time but already we are interacting really well and getting things done,” he said.
The maritime exclusion zone marker buoys will be dispersed by HMPNG Lakekamu in the lead-up to APEC 2018 Leaders’ Week.
Papua New Guinea is hosting a year-long program of APEC meetings throughout 2018, culminating in the Leaders' Summit of Presidents and Prime Ministers from 21 Pacific Rim member economies from 12-18 November.