Minister for Defence - Defence Minister welcomes the commissioning of HMPNGS Lakekamu

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Senator the Hon David Johnston

Minister for Defence

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4 December 2014

Today in Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea, a ceremony was held to mark the commissioning of the Landing Craft Heavy HMPNGS Lakekamu into service with the Papua New Guinea Defence Force (PNGDF).

HMPNGS Lakekamu was formerly the Royal Australia Navy Landing Craft Heavy HMAS Labuan, which was decommissioned from Australian service at a ceremony in Cairns last month.

Defence Minister Senator David Johnston welcomed the gifting of MMAS Labuan, which fulfilled a commitment the Abbott Government made to Papua New Guinea last year.

Senator Johnston said following its decommissioning HMPNGS Lakekamu was sailed to Port Moresby by a combined Royal Australian Navy and Papua New Guinea Defence Force crew.

HMPNGS Lakekamu has been gifted to Papua New Guinea as a training vessel, and will be used by the PNGDF to develop mariner skills and a seaworthiness culture in the Maritime Element’s growing workforce.

HMPNGS Lakekamu has been named after the Lakekamu River, in Gulf Province, south-western Papua New Guinea, and is the first PNGDF vessel to bear that name.

As HMAS Labuan, the vessel had visited the Papua New Guinea on several occasions, including during her first operational voyage in 1973.

Senator Johnston will visit Papua New Guinea on December 15 for the Australia-Papua New Guinea Ministerial Forum on 15 December, to hold his second Defence Ministers’ Meeting with Dr Fabian Pok.

Media contact:

Rebecca Horton (Minister Johnston’s Office)                   0477 389 554

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