Subscribe Search

Search form

Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Aust to help set up naval repair base

Aust to help set up naval repair base

Aust to help set up naval repair base

I T is likely the Australian government will support the establishment of a maritime maintenance facility at the Riam Naval Base, according to Australia's Military Attaché to Cambodia Colonel Mike Smith.

He said: "We are currently engaged in a feasibility study to help establish a maritime maintenance facility at Riam, [Sihanoukville province].

"This project is likely to go ahead as the Australian Defense Department has set aside a lot of equipment from its effort to rationalize Australian naval bases.

"If approved, we will also train tradesmen in the basic skills necessary to maintain [naval] ships."

Smith spoke with the Post after the 10 member Australian Military fact-finding mission left Cambodia on July 22.

Commitments for further military aid to Cambodia depend in part on the recommendations of the mission, but Colonel Smith refused to be drawn on what those recommendations would be.

He said: "Because the mission's report is not yet complete, the findings and conclusions have not been made public."

He added: "There is no connection between this visit and the bill recently passed in the National Assembly to outlaw the Khmer Rouge nor is there any connection between this visit and the problem with hostages taken by the Khmer Rouge."

"The mission came to Cambodia after requests were received from the Cambodian government for additional military assistance and as a result of the visit of Cambodian Armed Forces Chief of Staff, General Ke Kim Yan to Australia in late June and early July."

Smith said: "With the departure of the United Nations military in November of 1993, the Australian commitment to aid the Cambodian military did not end."

He said the Australian government had funded two other non-lethal assistants projects for the Cambodian military since the departure of Untac.

"In the first project 18 soldiers have finished the first phase of an English training program where they are being trained as English instructors.

"A number of these soldiers will be chosen to enter the next phase of [English] instructor training."

He added that the second major program the Australians are involved in is a multi-phase communications project, which will provide reliable communications between army headquarters.

"We brought in the [communications] equipment, the Cambodians provided the warehouse. We have taught them how to install and operate the equipment.

"Like the English training this program is in its first phase and proceeding to the next phase will depend on successful completion of the first phase.

"In our attempt to help the Cambodian military, we have tried to make our efforts public and transparent.

"We have emphasized that these projects involve and require the cooperation of the Cambodian government and military."


  • Kak Channthy, Cambodian Space Project frontwoman, killed in crash at 38 [Updated]

    Updated 5:05pm, Tuesday, March 20, 2018 Kak Channthy, frontwoman of popular The Cambodian Space Project, was killed Tuesday morning in a traffic accident in Phnom Penh. She was 38. Channthy, the internationally recognised singer-songwriter also known as “Srey Thy”, was reportedly travelling in a tuk-tuk on the city's

  • Australians protest Asean summit visit by PM Hun Sen

    Hundreds of protesters gathered in Sydney’s Hyde Park on Friday to protest against Cambodian strongman Hun Sen, who claimed to have been gifted millions of dollars by the Australian government ahead of a special Asean summit this weekend. An estimated 300 protesters, the majority of

  • One Australian, one Cambodian killed in explosion at military base

    Updated: 5:20pm, Friday 16 March 2018 An Australian tourist and a Cambodian soldier were killed in an explosion on Thursday afternoon at an army base in Cambodia’s Kampong Speu province. The Australian, whom the government initially identified as a technical demining expert in his 40s, and

  • Peeling back layers of prehistory in Battambang

    When the man passed away, he had not yet reached 50. He belonged to a tribe that had settled near the Sangker River in Battambang province, likely cultivating the fields and raising animals. On the side, they hunted for boars, and even turtles, one of which