Pacific Islands - Polynesia and Melanesia.

OldNavy63

Active Member
New news articles from tonight - HMAS Adelaide has docked in Tonga this evening (the article mentions "cargo was being offloaded by machines" presumably that's the ship's cranes?) and IIRC the 23 on board with covid are in isolation, hopefully meaning Adelaide's crew and other embarked personnel can carry on with their other critical tasks.
From ADF Image gallery, HMAS Adelaide approaching Tonga.

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recce.k1

Well-Known Member
From ADF Image gallery, HMAS Adelaide approaching Tonga.

Preview image for asset


Question: does the ADF Chinooks have two different colour schemes for some of them (green and the above sandy or lighter green colour), or just the one but lighting conditions may show them as different sometimes? I did a google search and seem to see different colours (or perhaps my eyes need checking)!
 

recce.k1

Well-Known Member
I think it would be fair to suggest that the Tongan government has no major concerns with the covid situation on the Adelaide, due to dialogue and protocols being followed. As they say:
Minister for Health, Hon. Dr Saia Piukala said they had a meeting with the Australian High Commissioner and some of the Australian defence personnel who are in Tonga.

“Confirmation at this time is there are 29 positive cases on board the ship. The 29 are currently in isolation including close contacts, and altogether there are 42 of them.

This navy ship has the capacity to look after isolation and care for those who are positive. They have a full capacity hospital, there are 40 beds, three operating rooms, and they are equipped to look after those who are sick.

These people who are sick are similar to our first case. The test is positive but there are no symptoms to suggest they are sick. They followed protocols using PCR tests before boarding the ship. And then they are tested using rapid antigen tests daily and that’s how they were confirmed [to have COVID-19],” he said.

In other news, a French CN235 has delivered supplies and apparently the CCP are sending two aircraft according to a "Chinese Embassy in Fiji" tweet (unsure what although a Y-20 was apparently at Guadalcanal yesterday, assuming it is related).
 

recce.k1

Well-Known Member
I really do hope that the Australian and NZ Governments (Departments/Ministries of Foreign Affairs, Defence, Office of the Prime Minister, their national security and intelligence groups etc) accord high priority to dialogue and meetings with Tongan Govt officials (and are liaising of course with the likes of the US, Japan, France, EU, UK etc), in regards to the long term rebuild and recovery, loans and debts etc.

Yes there are many other highly important international issues to be dealing with, particularly in the wider Indo-Pacific and tensions in Ukraine etc.

But this is to counter growing CCP influence (with the Tongan situation) which has the potential to destabalise the wider region in the medium and longer term. Perhaps a specialised "ANZ task/oversight group" needs to be setup?

The Japanese have been principled benefactors (in the South West Pacific) for a number of decades now, working in with the Pacific Forum nations and ensuring transparency etc. The fact that Japan has dispatched an amphibious transport dock and a number of transport aircraft carrying aid and important plant and equipment for the recovery highlights how seriously Japan takes its relationship with Tonga and the Pacific. Of course nowadays there is the CCP factor as per this article from yesterday.


Today The Spectator (Australia) reminds us of the growing influence of the CCP and how it could exploit the Tongan disaster (with more and more loans, with strings attached no doubt, to an already indebted and beholden Tongan Govt).

Australia and NZ has dropped the ball in the recent past (eg sanctions against Fiji in the 2000's saw CCP influence leap and bound etc), we must be cautious to not repeat past mistakes, but also factor in the wider, longer strategic view, when it comes to long term recovery and rebuilding.


There is much to consider in that article but one aspect is this - "China has invested more than $1.3 trillion in 42 Commonwealth states alone since 2005", that's a lot of influence!
 
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recce.k1

Well-Known Member
Another (NZ) article from yesterday on the "geo-politcal" aspects of the Tongan situation. I believe theses quotes are rather pertinent:
Anna Powles, a senior lecturer at Massey University’s Centre for Defence and Security Studies, said the response to the eruption had been phenomenal.

“There’s a lot of activity, there's a lot of things on offer, but it’s not entirely clear how it all fits into a co-ordinated response based on the Tongan government's need assessment,” Powles said.

* * * *
Powles said the high level of aid provided, relative to the size of the crisis, was due to three factors: a desire to help, a lack of certainty about what was needed, and strategic competition.

“I don't want to overplay this, but there is an element of geopolitics in there as well,” she said. “It’s less about Tonga than it is about the wider region, and partners working together.”

In the meantime (whilst our politicans dither and focus energies inwards), the bureaucrats and military first responders continue to work hard. BZ to the crew of HMS Spey!


 

Rock the kasbah

Active Member
This is an interesting take on the situation in Tonga
It's getting pretty crowded there.
If I'm reading this correct does that mean that NZ military presence would be in overall charge of the assistance arriving in Tonga?
Don't get me wrong it's a good problem to have, but a tricky job.
 

ngatimozart

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OldNavy63

Active Member
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kiwipatriot69

Active Member
HMAS Canberra to replace HMAS Canberra in Op Tonga Assist 2022.

Chinese Amphibs soon to arrive in Tongan waters.

Considering the debt Tonga already has from loans from China, over 100 million worth for previous disasters alone, id say there's strings attached to those acts of 'charity'.

Chines media online of course being misleading about them being one of the first military to be there .
 

buffy9

Active Member
Not to takeaway frm Tonga but get a look at the kit these boys are sporting.
Is that a silenced smg in the back right ?
Would this be ex Indonesian gear?
I keep seeing this photo popping up about the conflict so I did a reverse image search on it, luckily a Facebook profile already did the work and identified all of the small arms involved.

Various weapons used by OPM: M16+M203 grenade launcher, SS 1, SP 1, Grease gun, Daewoo K7 and Minimi,
A mix of different weapons, some in widespread use by the TNI. Interesting that the Minimi was using a magazine, indicating there may have been a shortage of ammunition/link wherever or whenever the photo was taken. With small arms in small supply, they sometimes even turn to using bows, axes and bush knives, as well as old WW2 era weapons such as the grease gun, owen gun or lee-enfield.

An interesting interview (no transcript unfortunately) that demonstrates the variety of weapons they make use of.

edit: changed source of bottom link.
 
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ngatimozart

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Yep it's interesting. They sure have a wide variety of weapons and those arrows most likely will have been tipped with poison. I wonder how much of the old ways they adhere too because some of those tribes in Papua and PNG used to practice cannibalism. The real question would be, do some of the Papuans still practise it?
 

buffy9

Active Member
Yep it's interesting. They sure have a wide variety of weapons and those arrows most likely will have been tipped with poison. I wonder how much of the old ways they adhere too because some of those tribes in Papua and PNG used to practice cannibalism. The real question would be, do some of the Papuans still practise it?
I don't believe it is still practised by many tribes, if any. A stigma or stereotype that sticks around because the country remains largely disconnected and undeveloped.

There is an interesting documentary by Patrick Hutton on YT that talks about it briefly. In episode four they actually come across some rebels on the PNG-Papua border, somewhere along the Fly River or one of its tributaries. That episode is blocked in Australia iirc, though the series gave some interesting insights into some of the more rural areas of PNG.

I don't want to stray from Tonga too much, but the Papua conflict is one that goes extremely unnoticed.
 

kiwipatriot69

Active Member
I keep seeing this photo popping up about the conflict so I did a reverse image search on it, luckily a Facebook profile already did the work and identified all of the small arms involved.



A mix of different weapons, some in widespread use by the TNI. Interesting that the Minimi was using a magazine, indicating there may have been a shortage of ammunition/link wherever or whenever the photo was taken. With small arms in small supply, they sometimes even turn to using bows, axes and bush knives, as well as old WW2 era weapons such as the grease gun, owen gun or lee-enfield.

An interesting interview (no transcript unfortunately) that demonstrates the variety of weapons they make use of.

edit: changed source of bottom link.

Where would they find ammunition for WW2 era rifles ect? Or are they really clever and have the means to make it?
 

spoz

The Bunker Group
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Probably preserved from the era, there was a lot of fighting there in WW2 remember. Plus there was a scandal in the late 70s/early 80s about clandestine aid being supplied from inside PNG, including weapons and ammunition. When I was up there (mid 70s) there was a constant problem with stuff (and people) being smuggled across the border. Some of the west Papua guys used to retreat back into PNG when being pursued by Indonesians and there were a couple of hot pursuit type incidents. I doubt if that has stopped given the nature of the terrain (terrible) along the border.
 

kiwipatriot69

Active Member
Probably preserved from the era, there was a lot of fighting there in WW2 remember. Plus there was a scandal in the late 70s/early 80s about clandestine aid being supplied from inside PNG, including weapons and ammunition. When I was up there (mid 70s) there was a constant problem with stuff (and people) being smuggled across the border. Some of the west Papua guys used to retreat back into PNG when being pursued by Indonesians and there were a couple of hot pursuit type incidents. I doubt if that has stopped given the nature of the terrain (terrible) along the border.

Wouldn't rounds degrade after that length of time?
 

CJR

Member
Where would they find ammunition for WW2 era rifles ect? Or are they really clever and have the means to make it?
WW2 gear?
.30-06 is still a fairly popular hunting round in Seppo-land and military firearms (particularly various forms of M1 Garand and BAR) were still in service in SE Asia up until at least the1970s (indeed, if wiki is to be trusted the Philippines were still accepting deliveries of M1s until at least 1975), and likely in reserve well into the 1990s... So, probably a combo of what could be smuggled in or stolen from government stocks.

.45 ACP, again the round is still popular enough to be in reasonable scale production and the M3 Grease Gun was widely distributed in SE Asia (again, per wiki, used in active service by the Philippines up until at least the late 2000s). So ditto.

9mm, still a popular pistol cartridge today. So, again, ditto. Though I understand 9mm has a few different variations in loading, so a modern military round might not play nicely with a glooped up pile of rust impersonating a Sten or Owen...

.303 was used fairly extensively in the region up until the 1960s and 70s but looks to have gone pretty quickly after that... Might still be some smuggling and stealing, but probably moving more onto finding what WW2 leftover they can.

That'd cover the big 'uns. Other odds and ends? Probably forced to scavenge for WW2 detritus and hope it doesn't blow up in their faces too often...
 
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Rock the kasbah

Active Member
This is quite an old link but it is definitely still ongoing a bit wild and wooly over there when it comes to rules and regs.
I do recall when qld was having the bikie issues the bikies were caught trading ammo for pot.
You don't need much of a boat to get to PNG on a good day.
 
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