HMPNGS Cape Gloucester

On Friday June 10, the PNG Defence Force received another goodwill gift from the people and government of Australia – a newly handed over landing craft.

Chief of the Papua New Guinea Defence Force, Major General Mark Goina said the Australia - PNG Defence Relationship is at the highest level. Adding that it is the most enduring security partnership, founded on shared geography historical links and cultural ties.

Commander Goina said the project of securing the vessel was initiated through the combined capability assessment program that saw the decommissioning of HMS Buna and Salamaua, and the subsequent agreed purchase of Niuship Cape Gloucester, now the commissioned HMPNGS Cape Gloucester.

He said the new landing craft Cape Gloucester was purchased by the government of Australia under the Defence Cooperation Arrangement.

“The vessel was purchased and gifted as capability gap filler to the PNGDF maritime element as a sovereign maritime capability.

Through the Defence Cooperation Program, PNG is a proud recipient of two gifted landing craft HMPNGS Lakekamu, and the most recent, Nuship Cape Gloucester.

Commander Goina highlighted the reasoning for the naming of the vessel ‘Cape Gloucester.’

“The principle behind the name is the significance of the ambitious landing that the Allied Forces did at Cape Gloucester during World War Two. It is for this reason that we are graced by the presence of the Deputy Governor for West New Britain Province, Honorable Josep Naipu and Acting Provincial Administrator for West New Britain Province, Major Leo Mapmani, Retired, and the people of Cape Gloucester.”

As with several other assets gifted to PNG by the Govt of Australia, the vessel comes to the PNGDF with an ongoing maintenance and sustainment package to ensure that the vessel continues to meet the PNGDF’s operational requirements.

Australian Deputy Head of Mission, Dr Joanne Loundes said through this procurement, Australia is pleased to be delivering on the shared commitment to build a sustainable Papua New Guinea maritime capability, and expand the security partnership through the defence corporation partnership.

Dr Loundes acknowledged that the commissioning of the landing craft represented another important step in Australia and PNG’s enduring sixty-year maritime partnership.

“I’m absolutely delighted to celebrate the commissioning of PNG’s newest landing craft, the Niuship Cape Gloucester.

“It marks nearly 50 years of landing craft cooperation between our two nations, with our first gift in 1974.

“This vessel’s namesake holds shared military history for both our nations.

“The capture of Cape Gloucester in 1944 paved the way for the strategically significant admiralty islands campaign.”

Dr Loundes adds, “Niuship Cape Goucester will assist the Papua New Guinea Defence Force martime element to develop a strengthened sea lift capability, assisting in your ability to national taskings.

“Through this procurement we are pleased to be delivering on our shared commitment to build a sustainable Papua New Guinea maritime capability, and expand our security partnership through our defence corporation partnership,” said Dr Loundes.

Marysila Kellerton