The Royal Australian Navy ship HMAS Anzac with a crew of 158 began a three-day visit to Preah Sihanouk province on October 18-20 to reinforce Australia’s commitment to assisting Cambodia with development, cooperation and bilateral military operations.
This is the first time since 2016 that an Australian naval vessel has berthed in the Kingdom.
HMAS Anzac is part of Australia’s flagship regional engagement activity known as¬ Indo Pacific Endeavour (IPE).
“In 2021, a small taskforce of Australian naval ships has visited ports, conducted military exercises, provided humanitarian and medical assistance, and exchanged new ideas and perspectives on security matters with Australia’s partner countries in Southeast Asia,” the Australian embassy in Phnom Penh said in a press statement on October 18.
During the wharf ceremony, Australian ambassador Pablo Kang gifted 800kg of Covid-19-related medical supplies and personal protective equipment to Preah Sihanouk provincial governor Kuoch Chamroeun and Vice Admiral Ouk Seyha, Deputy Commander of the Royal Cambodian Navy.
Ambassador Kang thanked Cambodia for making IPE21 a success and stressed the importance of mutual support and cooperation in addressing the pandemic.
“The visit reinforces Australia’s commitment in supporting Cambodia’s future development, including its health and economic recovery from Covid-19 and our bilateral defence cooperation,” Kang was quoted as saying in the press statement.
He added that the visit occurred during the week of the 30th anniversary of the signing of the Paris Peace Agreements which began efforts to end decades of armed conflict in Cambodia. The agreements led to the UN Transitional Authority in Cambodia in which many women and men of the Australian Defence Force served.
During the visit, the crew will also conduct a virtual seminar on Women, Peace and Security with Royal Cambodian Armed Forces representatives, which will build on Australia’s financial and policy support for the successful Asia-Europe Forum on Women, Peace and Security hosted by the Ministry of Women’s Affairs last week.
Preah Sihanouk provincial deputy governor Kong Vitan said at the ceremony that the gifts showed the solidarity, friendship and cooperation between Cambodia and Australia and is part of the activities of Australia’s naval cooperation in the Indo-Pacific region.
“[I] wish the solidarity and bond between the two countries and peoples to be even closer,” he said.
HMAS Anzac is 118m long and 14.8m wide, and capable of managing a displacement of 3,810 tonnes at full load. Internally the lead ship of the Anzac-class frigates is crewed by 158 personnel. Led by Indo-Pacific Commander Mal Wise of the Royal Australian Navy, the ship is docked at the Sihanoukville Autonomous Port from October 18-20.