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PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (PNG Post-Courier, July 19) - Two navy vessels of the Papua New Guinea Defence Force left Lancron Naval Base in Port Moresby yesterday for a one-month naval exercise in Australia.

The boats, HMPNGS Tarangau and HMPNGS Dreger, carried a total of 24 Papua New Guinean sailors and two Australians for the bi-annual Kakadu exercise at an Australian naval base in Darwin.

The boats will be at sea for about four days before joining their counterparts from Australia, New Zealand, Malaysia, Singapore, Japan, France and Indonesia for the exercise.

The 24 sailors are based at the Lombrum Naval Base in Manus but had traveled to Port Moresby last week for preparations.

Papua New Guinea Defence Force maritime director Commander Clement Tele said while at sea, the 24 men would engage in naval maneuvering, engineering, maritime interdiction and communication training.

Commander Tele said in Australia his men would do surface fishing, maritime patrol, naval maneuvering, anti-aircraft and other naval activities.

Commander Tele said the exercise would help his men to work with the navies of other regions to enhance their skills.

He said the exercise was important for his men because it would enable them to enhance their surveillance skills, which they could use to help Papua New Guinea.

He said so far this year the navy had caught five illegal fishing ships -- two around the waters of Manus and three in the waters of Western Province. He said illegal fishing vessels included three Chinese vessels, whose cases were before the courts and two Taiwanese vessels that are yet to be towed to Port Moresby from Manus.

Commander Tele said he would like to increase the number of patrols from 10 to at least 15.

He said the navy’s participation in the Kakadu exercise showed a sign of confidence in our sailors. Papua New Guinea is the only Pacific country taking part in the exercise since it began in 1999.

July 20, 2005

Papua New Guinea Post-Courier:

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