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October 12, 2020
When governments around the world closed international borders in a bid to contain the spread of COVID-19, a small group of trainees from Pacific Island nations found themselves at the Australian Maritime College (AMC) unable to return home.
Now nine months since their arrival, all trainees are being relocated from Tasmania to Darwin to join other Pacific Islanders, who have been working with the Royal Australian Navy at HMAS Coonawarra and Darwin Navy Base, in Larrakeyah Barracks.
Whilst living in Tasmania, staff at AMC Search, the training and consultancy division of the AMC, have worked tirelessly to make their enforced stay as comfortable, interesting and engaging as possible.
Once the College reopened for training, the trainees completed their initial courses and took advantage of the situation to conduct additional training.
They were also treated to some tourist experiences and became regular visitors to the University Gym and other facilities.
The trainees were also central to a special ceremony marking the decommissioning of Pacific Patrol Boats, recognising the role their vessels and crew have played in maintaining the sovereignty of their Pacific Island nations.
Although they are not travelling home yet, they have been assured by the Department of Defence that efforts will continue to get them home.
The trainees will be missed by all at AMC but are extremely pleased that they will be moving to new ground to gain valuable experience engaging with the Royal Australian Navy and fellow Pacific Islanders.