The Royal Australian Navy (RAN) landing ship, HMAS Choules has arrived in Luganville in Vanuatu to load humanitarian aid supplies as part of Operation Vanuatu Assist, the service announced.
The vessel is loaded with an Army MRH-90 helicopter as well as troops from Australia and Tonga to distribute aid to remote areas of the island.
— DefenceAustralia (@DeptDefence) October 9, 2017
Australia is deploying additional humanitarian supplies to provide relief to communities displaced from Vanuatu’s Ambae Island due to volcanic eruption of Monaro Voui.
The evacuation of the residents of Ambae Island – approximately 11,600 people – is now complete. Around 8,000 people have been evacuated to the island of Espiritu Santo, and around 3,000 more to nearby islands of Pentecost and Maewo.
The country is delivering much needed humanitarian supplies to meet the needs of up to 7,500 people. Tents for temporary shelter, kitchen supplies and lighting will provide relief to families and improve community safety. Australian assistance will also provide access to clean water.
The Australian Defence Force (ADF) delivered the first two loads of supplies to Luganville on Tuesday and Wednesday via a C-17 transport aircraft, adding to those already provided by New Zealand.
HMAS Choules (L100)
HMAS Choules (L100) is a Bay-class landing ship that served with the Royal Fleet Auxiliary (RFA) from 2006 to 2011, before being transferred to the Royal Australian Navy (RAN).
During her career with the RFA, Largs Bay served as the British ship assigned to patrol the Falkland Islands in 2008, and delivered relief supplies following the 2010 Haiti earthquake.
HMAS Choules has a length of 579.4 feet (176.6 m) and displaces 16,000 tonnes.
Choules’ docking well in the stern is capable of operating a Landing Craft Mechanised (LCM-8) or two Landing Craft Vehicle Personnel (LCVP). The vessel’s large flight deck aft can accommodate two large helicopters and is capable of operating RAN helicopters including the MRH-90 Taipan and S-70B-2 Seahawk and the Australian Army’s S-70A Black Hawk.
The military lift includes the capacity to load and transport up to 32 M1A1 Abrams tanks, or 150 light trucks. HMAS Choules can carry a normal load of 356 troops, or overloaded with 700.
Depending on the situation Choules can operate either close in shore or over the horizon using helicopters and landing craft, to get men and equipment ashore.