HMAS Newcastle completes Arabian Gulf patrol

Published on LEUT Sarah West (author), POIS Ollie Garside (photographer)

Topic(s): Operation SLIPPER, HMAS Newcastle (F06)

HMAS Newcastle's Boarding Party visits a dhow while conducting maritime security operations in the Arabian Gulf.
 (photo: POIS Ollie Garside)
HMAS Newcastle's Boarding Party visits a dhow while conducting maritime security operations in the Arabian Gulf.

The Royal Australian Navy ship HMAS Newcastle has completed a week-long maritime security patrol in the Arabian Gulf.

Assigned to the multi-national Combined Task Force 152 (CTF 152), Newcastle patrolled the gulf looking for signs of terrorist activity and destabilising activity.

Newcastle’s Boarding Parties conducted 23 maritime security boarding operations during the patrol, to collect ‘patterns of life’ intelligence and build rapport with local fishermen.

Boarding Officer, Lieutenant David Osborne said Newcastle’s Boarding Party was well received by the local seafaring community.

“Australia has been committed to the Arabian Sea for many years now because there is a lot of trade that transits through this area,” he said.

“While most people transiting the Arabian Sea are doing so to conduct legal activities, there are some whose activities threaten the safety and security of everyone else. That’s what we are trying to stamp out when we conduct operations in this region.

“Over the years we have built up a good rapport with the local seafaring community, so much so that they start clapping and smiling when we tell them we are from Australia.

“Some of the English speaking mariners have even made conversation with us about the cricket. I just hope they aren’t following Australia’s form in the Ashes too closely!”

Newcastle is deployed to the Middle East Area of Operations (MEAO) as part of Operation SLIPPER - the Australian Defence Force contribution to the international campaign against terrorism, counter smuggling and counter piracy in the Gulf of Aden, and enhancing regional maritime security and engagement.

Over the course of her six month deployment, the Australian warship will conduct numerous operations with three multi-national coalition task forces, including the counter terrorism focused Combined Task Force 150, the counter piracy focused Combined Task Force 151 and the Combined Task Force 152, which is focused on maritime security in Arabian Gulf.

Newcastle’s current deployment is the 55th rotation of an Australian warship to the MEAO since 1990. She is due to return to Australia in October, after handing over Operation SLIPPER duties to HMAS Melbourne.

Imagery is available on the Royal Australian Navy Media Library at http://images.navy.gov.au/S20131006.