Lombrum Naval Base

Lombrum Naval Base, also known as HMPNGS Tarangau and formerly PNG Defence Force Base Lombrum, is a naval military base operated by the Maritime Operations Element of the Papua New Guinea Defence Force (PNGDF).[1] It is located on Manus Island in Papua New Guinea. Lombrum is the home port of the PNGDF's Pacific-class patrol boat force.[2]

PNG Defence Force Base Lombrum
'HMPNGS Tarangau
Manus Island in Papua New Guinea
PNG Defence Force Base Lombrum
Location in Papua New Guinea
Coordinates2°02′25″S 147°22′19″E
TypeNaval base
Site information
Site history
BuiltJanuary 1944 (1944-01)
Battles/warsPacific War, World War II
Garrison information
GarrisonMaritime Operations Element
OccupantsPacific-class patrol boat

After redevelopment in 1950 by the Royal Australian Navy, it was known as HMAS Seeadler, being renamed HMAS Tarangau soon afterwards.

The Manus Regional Processing Centre was established within the base[3] in 2001.


The facility started life during World War II as a United States Navy base constructed by the Seabees of NCBs 11, 58, and 71. The base was commissioned in January 1944 after the recapture of the island from the Japanese.[2] Although a major naval base during the latter part of the war, the facility was abandoned by the Americans in 1946 with the downsizing of their military and their policy of containment shifted strategic focus away from the southern Pacific.[2] The Australian government took over the site, redeveloped it, and reopened it as the Royal Australian Navy (RAN) base HMAS Seeadler, commissioning on 1 January 1950[2][4] to replace the RAN base at Dreger Harbour, near Finschhafen.[4][5] The base was renamed HMAS Tarangau, the name of the former Dreger Harbour base,[4][6] on 1 April 1950.[2][6]

The base was used as a refuelling and stores point for RAN ships travelling between Australia and South East Asia.[6] The size of the facility gradually shrank through the 1950s and 1960s, and the decision was made to hand the facility over to Papua New Guinea as part of the process leading to the nation's independence from Australia.[2][7] As part of this, Tarangau was paid off on 14 November 1974 and given to the Papua New Guinea Defence Force, who reactivated the base as PNG Defence Force Base Lombrum.[7]

In 2018 Australian and Papua New Guinea officials met to discuss expanding the base again, so that it can also serve as a base for Australian and United States Navy vessels.[8][9][10]

See also


  1. "HMPNGS Tarangau". Papua New Guinea Defence Force. Archived from the original on 13 March 2016. Retrieved 12 March 2017.
  2. Dennis, Peter; Grey, Jeffrey; Morris, Ewan; Prior, Robin (2008). The Oxford Companion to Australian Military History (2nd ed.). South Melbourne, VIC: Oxford University Press. p. 349. ISBN 9780195517842. OCLC 271822831.
  3. Chandler, Jo (16 Dec 2014). "Welcome to Manus, the island that has been changed forever by Australian asylum-seeker policy". The Guardian. Retrieved 22 November 2019.
  4. "Base At Manus". The Sydney Morning Herald. National Library of Australia. 21 December 1949. p. 1.
  5. Eldridge, Stephen; (member, RAN, 1947–1950). "Verbal History" (Interview).CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)
  6. "HMAS Tarangau" (PDF). Royal Australian Navy News. Royal Australian Navy. 14 (8). 16 April 1971.
  7. Moore, John, ed. (1977). Jane's Fighting Ships 1977–78. Jane's Fighting Ships (80th ed.). London: Jane's Yearbooks. p. 20. ISBN 0531032779. OCLC 18207174.
  8. "Move to head off China with Australian base in PNG". The Australian. 2018-09-20. Retrieved 2018-09-20. Australian officials have expressed concerns over Chinese interest in the redevelopment of four PNG ports, at Wewak, Kikori, Vanimo and Manus Island, fearing the Asian superpower is working towards gaining a military foothold in the region.
  9. "Joint US-Australian naval base on Manus Island a 'significant pushback' against China's Pacific ambitions". Australian Broadcasting Corporation. 2018-11-18. Retrieved 2018-11-18.
  10. Dziedzic, Stephen (2018-11-17). "US to partner with Australia and PNG on Manus Island naval base". ABC News. Retrieved 2019-06-15.

Further reading

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