Australia’s High Commissioner, Sarah de Zoeten, said the Australian Government was honoured to join its ni-Vanuatu family and friends in celebrating this momentous occasion, especially during these challenging times.
“Australia stands with the people of Vanuatu as they mark this momentous occasion and we are very proud to be able to contribute to the celebrations,”Ms de Zoeten said.
Whilst in Vanuatu, the crew will deliver Australian-funded equipment to assist the country’s Tropical Cyclone Harold recovery efforts and COVID-19 preparedness.
“The health and safety of our ni-Vanuatu family remains our utmost priority, and all Australian Defence Force assets and personnel will comply with the COVID-19 protocols and restrictions of both of our Governments.”
This year’s Australian Defence Force support builds on Australia and Vanuatu’s long and enduring security partnership spanning decades and reflects the Australian Government’s previous contributions to Vanuatu’s independence celebrations.
Both RAN vessels share a historical connection with the people of Vanuatu.
At the request of the Government of Vanuatu, HMAS Huon (one of the Royal Australian Navy’s five Minehunters) and HMAS Choules (the Royal Australian Navy’s 16,000 tonne transport ship for helicopters, landing craft and troops) supported the evacuation of civilians from Ambae in 2017 following the eruption of Manaro volcano.
Photo supplied Caption: HMAS Choules inside Port Vila Harbour