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Royal Australian Navy Helps Indigenous Community

Department of Defence

MSPA 311/08 Tuesday, 23 September 2008

Tobruk Helps Indigenous Community

The Royal Australian Navy’s (RAN) Heavy Landing Ship, HMAS Tobruk sailed today for the Kimberley coast in support of the Army Aboriginal Community Assistance Program (AACAP) for 2008.

Tobruk is tasked to collect Australian Army vehicles and construction equipment from the remote indigenous community of Kalumburu in the far north of Western Australia. Kalumburu is one of Australia’s most isolated coastal communities and is nearly 400 kilometres from the Kimberley town of Kununarra.

AACAP is an initiative of the Federal Government and the Australian Army led program has been in operation for 12 years. Commanding Officer of Tobruk, Commander Peter Thompson said, “this year the Australian Defence Force will be providing equipment to upgrade the access road to Kalumburu and to construct a cyclone coded health clinic."

Two of the RAN’s Heavy Landing Craft, HMA Ships Balikpapan and Brunei, have already been deployed to the community delivering the initial supplies and equipment to set up for the AACAP projects in Kalumburu.

The involvement of RAN ships in AACAP is vitally important because of the isolation and remoteness of the community.

“The amount of equipment and supplies could not be delivered to Kalumburu without the support of amphibious Navy ships,” Commander Thompson said.

Tobruk and Brunei will be conducting a procedure unique to amphibious ships known as a Stern Door Marriage, where equipment can be transferred from one ship to another at sea.

“We train to complete Stern Door Marriages all the time, and it is good to know that we can do them in support of a great initiative,” said Commander Thompson.

Tobruk is due to return the equipment to Darwin and Brisbane during the early part of October, which will complete the RAN’s contribution to AACAP 08.


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