A British naval ship has made a historic first visit to Palau in nearly 100 years on an international goodwill mission accompanied by the United States 1,000 bed hospital ship USNS Mercy.
HMS Tamar became the first British warship to visit Palau since May 1925 when minesweeper HMS Bluebell called in on the archipelago.
USNS Mercy is the flagship of Pacific Partnership 22, a two-month deployment to remote communities around the Indo-Pacific, supported by the US allies, delivering medical aid and assistance, supporting community projects, assisting with infrastructure and taking part in sporting and community activities.
HMS Tamar is on a five-year mission with her sister HMS Spey as part of the UK’s ‘tilt’ back to the Indo-Pacific.
During the six-day visit to Palau, HMS Tamar hosted Palauan president Surangel Whipps Jr and numerous senior government officials to show what the ship and her men and women are capable of, before throwing open the gangway to some of the country’s 18,000 inhabitants.
There were discussions on how the nations involved in Pacific Partnership – Australia, Japan, the UK and the USA – could provide assistance, specifically related to humanitarian assistance, disaster relief, and medical exchanges.
“It’s been a privilege to bring the first Royal Navy warship into Palau for almost 100 years,” said Lieutenant Commander Matt Millyard, HMS Tamar’s Executive Officer.
“We learned a great deal from each other and with Tamar now an enduring presence here I look forward to continuing to build our partnerships in the Indo-Asia Pacific region.”
The increased presence in the region by the US and its allies have been sparked by China’s growing presence in the Pacific.
There is tension growing close to the Pacific and the US, UK, Australia, New Zealand and even Japan has been active in the region which has led to more aid, more diplomatic offices and more trade deals.