NEWS

RFNS Kula Decommissioned After 25 Years

Rear-Admiral Naupoto, who was the commanding officer of the RFNS Kula then, said on the year it was commissioned, they had to also respond to a search and rescue mission in the Lau waters involving two sisters from Vanuavatu.
22 Dec 2019 14:31
RFNS Kula Decommissioned After 25 Years
The RFNS was decommissioned on Friday night at the Stanley Base after 25 years of service.

It has been a rough journey for the navy vessel, RFNS Kula, since its commissioning on September 27, 1994.

During the decommissioning of the vessel at the Stanley Brown base on Friday night, Commander of the Republic of Fiji Military Forces Rear Admiral Viliame Naupoto, spoke of the vessel’s 25-year history serving the country.

Rear-Admiral Naupoto, who was the commanding officer of the RFNS Kula then, said on the year it was commissioned, they had to also respond to a search and rescue mission in the Lau waters involving two sisters from Vanuavatu.

“The trip to the search area was bumpy and rough but the crew were very seasoned from the 31 days delivery voyage that began from the bottom West coast of Australia to Fiji,” Rear-Admiral Naupoto said.

“I had no idea that I was going to be privy to that miles away battling the mighty forces to save the lives of two young Vanuavatu sisters.”

Rear-Admiral Naupoto remembered vividly of how he was called that morning to the briefing room.

“At around 9am that morning, I was called into the operations room and briefed by the operation officer, Lieutenant Commander Peter Kraus, RAN, who was also the first Maritime Advisor to Fiji under the Pacific Patrol Boat Programme,” he said.

“We arrived at the most likely position that the two girls would be at 10pm the same night. I could not sleep that night as every wave smashed on the hull of the ship, my heart sank as I told myself ‘we just killed them’. But the girls were found and saved.

“When I asked them later after they were rescued as to whether they saw the ship that night, they said that we almost steamed over them three times! The invisible hands of God were definitely around those two girls that night,” he added.

Rear-Admiral Naupoto said this was one of the many success stories of the RFNS Kula and her crew.

“BRAVO ZULU to you RFNS Kula and to all who sailed in her.”

Edited by Ivamere Nataro

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