DEFENCE Force commander Brig-Gen Francis Agwi and head of Australian defence staff Col Mark Shephard were on hand yesterday to bid farewell to officers and crew of HMPNGS Seeadler and HMPNGS Moresby in Port Moresby harbour.
Both patrol boats are bound for Cairns to participate in Exercise Paradise 2010 with the Royal Australian Navy (RAN).
Agwi said the exercise was important as it aimed to demonstrate and enhance interoperability between the two nations’ patrol boats in a safe and professional manner.
“Be ambassadors of PNG and perform to the best. You are among the finest seamen to participate in this exercise,” he told the crew.
Shephard encouraged the sailors to be prepared for emerging threats such as people and arms smuggling and illegal fishing.
“You will be joined by HMAS Wollongong and HMAS Bundaberg and I encourage you to work with your naval counterparts to improve surveillance over our waters,” he said.
Exercise Paradise is an annual bilateral maritime surveillance training activity between the PNGDF’s maritime element and RAN.
It is a chance for PNG and Australian sailors to train together in preparation for combined maritime surveillance.
Since the 1980s, PNGDF has hosted Exercise Paradise within PNG waters. This is the first time the activity will be held in waters off Cairns.