Launceston deploys north

This article has photo gallery Published on SBLT Rob Guest (author), WO2 Chris Houghton (photographer)

Topic(s): Training, Operations, Operation RESOLUTE, HMAS Pirie (P87), HMAS Launceston (P94), Deployments (Non-Operations), South East Asia Deployment, Events

HMAS Launceston leads the way of HMAS Pirie as they sail out of Darwin Harbour with members of the United States Marine Corps - Rotational Force embarked to experience a day at sea on an Armidale-class Patrol Boat. (photo: WO2 Chris Houghton)
HMAS Launceston leads the way of HMAS Pirie as they sail out of Darwin Harbour with members of the United States Marine Corps - Rotational Force embarked to experience a day at sea on an Armidale-class Patrol Boat.

Armidale class patrol boat HMAS Launceston has tested trainees and strengthened regional relationships in a recent deployment to south-east Asia.

Launceston departed Australia after sailing from Darwin on 10 March in-company with sister-ship HMAS Pirie.

The crews conducted 25mm, 12.7mm and small arms firing serials and undertook close quarters steaming, internal damage control, boat drills and communications training to help their junior warfare officers to practice their mariner skills.

Upon completion Pirie commenced border protection duties in Australia's northern waters, whilst Launceston continued north to the Indonesian archipelago through the Sape Strait between the islands of Subawa and Komodo pasing an active volcano.

Launceston then conducted coastal navigation training throughout the archipelago en route to Singapore, berthing at Sembawang on the northern coast.

While in Sembawang, the crew hosted a visit from both the Australian High Commissioner to Singapore Mr Bruce Gosper and Chief of Navy Vice Admiral Tim Barrett who joined the crew when she sailed.

Her next stop was Langkawi, Malaysia, for the Langkawi International Maritime and Aerospace Exhibition.

She attended as part of the Australian Government's ongoing commitment to strengthen ties with neighbours across the region, participating in theInternational Fleet Review.

A International Maritime Food and Cultural Festival was a chance to show the neighbours Australian delicacies such as freshly baked Vegemite and cheese scrolls and lamingtons, a favourite of visitor Malaysian Defence Minister, Mr Hishammuddin Hussein.

The week culminated with a multilateral sea exercise with a large-scale fleet transit, an international cooperative boarding exercise as well as officer-of-the-watch manoeuvres.

Navigating Officer of Launceston Lieutenant Ben Couch said the exercise was an invaluable training experience.

"It involved 28 vessels from 13 nations and provided an excellent opportunity for our trainees to manoeuvre the vessel and working in concert with a variety of our Asia Pacific neighbours, " Lieutenant Couch said.

Launceston celebrates her tenth birthday this year, delivering an essential element of the nation's fisheries protection, immigration, customs and drug law enforcement operations.