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Tobruk Returns From Humanitarian Mission

Tobruk Returns From Humanitarian Mission

The Royal Australian Navy’s heavy landing ship HMAS Tobruk arrived in her homeport Garden Island, Sydney today, following a five week humanitarian deployment to the Pacific as part of Operation Samoa Assist.

Tobruk delivered over 500 tonnes of equipment and relief aid to Samoa and Tonga following the 30 September tsunami that damaged parts of the island nations. The aid package included a $400,000 fire truck donated by the Melbourne Metropolitan Fire Brigade to Samoa.

The Commanding Officer of HMAS Tobruk, Commander Peter Thompson, said the sight of Sydney Heads is always welcome after a lengthy time at sea.

“The ship’s company, along with the embarked Army units, have worked tirelessly throughout the conduct of this operation. I am proud of their efforts and the contribution they made in our region,” Commander Thompson said.

“One of the real highlights was the direct engagement with the communities we visited.

“We took several opportunities to conduct health clinics in remote regions and contributed where we could to the ongoing reconstruction work that is underway to repair the destruction caused by the tsunami,” Commander Thompson said.

During the deployment, Commander Thompson was presented with the Officer of The Royal Military Order of St George by the King of Tonga, George Tupou V, in appreciation for the support provided in the aftermath of the tsunami. This is the fourth-highest military honour that can be awarded by the King of Tonga.

“It was humbling to receive this award which acknowledged the vital contribution made by the Australian Government and Royal Australian Navy in supporting Tonga in its time of need,” Commander Thompson said.

The delivery of humanitarian aid has brought the total assistance to Tonga and Samoa by the Australian Government, non-government organisations and the Australian community to $13 million.

ENDS

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