The National, Wednesday February 26th, 2014
THE arrival of two Royal Australian Naval vessels in Bougainville on Friday is no cause for concern, Acting President Patrick Nisira said.
The visit is to conduct a hydrographic survey of waters between Buka Island and Torokina, in South-west Bougainville.
Nisira said the presence of HMAS Benalla and HMAS Sherpparton was part of a major exercise by the Australian Government to dispose of unexploded World War II bombs and ammunition.
“The Australian Government’s assistance is in response to the ABG’s request from March 2013 to see to the complete disposal from these ordanance,” Nisira said.
Consultations between the ABG, the Papua New Guinea and Australian governments in June last year resulted in Operation Render Safe in October with the Australian Defence Force doing an aerial survey of the charted waters.
A team from the ADF visited the site last year to establish logistics and support requirements for the operation.
The Australian Navy’s visit will be the third phase of the preliminary preparations leading to the removal and disposal of unexploded ordnance thatwill begin in October.