30 March 2015
For the second time in just over 16 months elements of the 3rd Combat Engineer Regiment (3CER) embarked in the Royal Australian Navy's heavy-lift ship, HMAS Tobruk, to provide assistance to neighbours devastated by a cyclone.
The ship sailed out of Townsville on March 18 arriving in Port Vila, Vanuatu, on March 23, loaded with heavy plant equipment, two LCM-8 landing aircraft, a Navy MRH-90 Taipan multirole helicopter and enough Humanitarian aid stores for 2500 people.
3CER's tasks will include water purification, clearance of debris and road repair as part of the Australian Government's response to Cyclone Pam.
Sergeant Anthony Clarke, a troop sergeant with 3CER's 16th Squadron, said Tobruk would remain in Port Vila overnight to offload some humanitarian aid supplies and reconfigure her load.
"We'll be sailing early tomorrow to Tanna Island, which was one of the worst hit areas, where we'll unload our equipment and get to work," he said.
"We'll be clearing and repairing roads as well as local infrastructure.
Vanuatu Prime Minister Joe Natuman visited Tobruk while the ship was docked in Port Vila and was shown over her capabilities by Commanding Officer Commander Leif Maxfield.
Tobruk had 157 ADF members embarked for Operation Pacific Assist 2015 in addition to her ships company of 177, which includes the Ship's Army Detachment.