Having the first lady of fleet, the Royal Australian Navy ship HMS Success in Samoa signals the importance of the Australia – Samoa relationship.
Anchored at the Matautu Wharf, the Australian navies are in Samoa to carry out programmes for maritime security and to help the local communities.
The HMS Success is a replenish ship in the Australian Navy. Their major role is providing fuel and other essentials to other ships task group. It is one of the oldest ships and it would be decommissioned by mid-next year.
HMS Success Commodore Chris Smallhorn said having to come to Samoa is a trip of sharing understanding and they are on a mission to help Samoa develop.
“This is the first lady of the fleet, our oldest ship, which is quite a special thing in our navy to be the first lady of the ship. To bring the first lady fleet, the Success out here, it sends that message of how important our relationships are with each other. So it is a real pleasure to be out here."
“The Indo-Pacific Endeavour 18 is a programme that delivers on our 2016 Defence White Paper in Australia just to deepen and strengthen our engagement across the region. The real focus on just continuing to develop our maritime security, developing the stability in the region and despite our commitment to continually build our relationships across the entire region,” he said.
“In terms of maritime security framework, how we work together and our Police forces and the various element of the government, also enhance our capacities on all side of the relationship whether it is the bilateral or the multilateral relationships, to make sure that in times of difficulty, whether that be security based or from the disaster assistance perspective, humanitarian perspective, they will always be ready and when we need to do these things we work closely together."
“It enhances what we do with the Pacific like patrol boat programme and the follow on programme, which will be the maritime security programme where in those programmes it is about enhancing in building capacity across the region and bring our large ships.”
The Australian navy shared with the Samoan officers’ demonstrations in case of a fire incident and the techniques that needed to be done.
“The programme is built around mutual benefit and strengthening our relationships for everyone at every level. It unites through the defence corporation programme, and we do have a series of programmes educating each other in both directions. So for the guardian patrol boat that is coming in August next year, we have three crew members from Samoa over at the Australia Maritime College in Tasmania.”
He also acknowledged the contribution of the Samoans who have migrated to Australia and have made an impact.
“Importantly for us and what I think is a real credit to Samoa is through the female crew members they will come back. There is an example of a college in Australia where we are building those relationships and educating each other."
“We learn a great deal from Samoans coming to Australia as well in teaching, so I would see no reason why you wouldn’t see the elements of the programme having visits as we make different opportunities where ships come here to the region.”
The Commanding Officer, Grant Zilko, elaborated on the work that they do.
“We have to work in a domain, which is in the open ocean and we have people with different abilities to manage that, which are as maintaining a crew at sea, keeping them well and the weather could make it otherwise."
“But also operating at a higher level of sea stake as with the replenishment activity, we have to get the ships close alongside to do it, so on heavy sea stake, it could be challenging.”
They have just recently returned from Vanuatu and their next stop after Samoa is Hawaii.