Australian minehunter visits Indonesia

The crew of the Royal Australian Navy’s Huon class minehunter HMAS Yarra has paid a rare port call to the Indonesian trade centre of Makassar.

Yarra was the first Royal Australian Navy vessel to visit Makassar since the opening of the Australian mission in the city this March.

Australia is South Sulawesi’s second largest source of imports with goods worth US$135.6 million.

As the gateway to Eastern Indonesia, Makassar is one of the Indonesian region’s most important maritime trade and cultural centres.

While Indonesian port visits are becoming increasingly common for Australian Navy vessels, few if any of Yarra’s crew had ever visited Makassar before.

“Several of the crew have previously visited other Indonesian ports primarily Bali,” Commanding Officer HMAS Yarra, Lieutenant Commander Jason McBain said.

“Makassar was different in that it was not as big or busy, with the highlights being the people and local cuisine.”

According to the Australian Navy, Makassar and Australia have much in common as they share a close maritime heritage. As early as 1700, fishing communities in South Sulawesi made the voyage to northern Australia to trade and to engage with the local Australian population.

“Australia and Indonesia have a shared interest in maintaining a safe and stable region. We are all proud to have played a role in that growing relationship,” Lieutenant Commander McBain said.