Ex-HMAS Darwin to become a Tasmanian dive wreck

This article has photo gallery Published on Department of Defence (author), LSIS Kayla Jackson (photographer)

Location(s): Fleet Base East, Sydney

Topic(s): HMAS Darwin (F04)

Guided Missile Frigate (FFG) Systems Program Office Director, Captain Jason Sears, RAN, Minister for Defence, Senator the Hon Marise Payne, and Senators for Tasmania, Steve Martin and Jonathon Duniam, at Fleet Base East, after Tasmania was announced as the recipient of the former Royal Australian Navy frigate, HMAS Darwin, for the purpose of creating an artificial reef and dive wreck. (photo: LSIS Kayla Jackson)
Guided Missile Frigate (FFG) Systems Program Office Director, Captain Jason Sears, RAN, Minister for Defence, Senator the Hon Marise Payne, and Senators for Tasmania, Steve Martin and Jonathon Duniam, at Fleet Base East, after Tasmania was announced as the recipient of the former Royal Australian Navy frigate, HMAS Darwin, for the purpose of creating an artificial reef and dive wreck.

After long and distinguished service in the Royal Australian Navy, the decommissioned Adelaide class frigate, ex-HMAS Darwin, will receive a new lease on life as a dive wreck in the waters off Tasmania, enabling the ship’s rich history to continue for future generations.

Making the announcement at Fleet Base East today, Minister for Defence, Senator Marise Payne, said she was pleased that the decommissioned frigate would call Tasmania home after sailing over 1 million nautical miles during her 33 years of service.

“The Government is pleased that ex-HMAS Darwin will be used in Tasmania as a dive wreck, particularly given the significant tourism and economic benefits that will flow from the decision,” Senator Payne said

“My Tasmanian Coalition Senate colleagues have played an important part in demonstrating the benefits of sending ex-HMAS Darwin to Tasmania one last time.”

Nationals Senator for Tasmania Steve Martin said the decision to gift ex-HMAS Darwin to Tasmania would give a much welcome boost to the local tourism sector, creating new jobs and bringing more visitors to the east coast.

“The creation of a dive wreck offers small businesses in Tasmania the opportunity to capitalise on national and international interest to dive in the magnificent Tasmanian waters,” Senator Martin said.

The fourth of six Adelaide class guided missile frigates, Ex-HMAS Darwin was commissioned in July 1984. Two of ex-HMAS Darwin’s sister ships, ex-HMA Ships Canberra and Adelaide continue their lives as dive wrecks in Victoria and NSW.

The Adelaide class were long-range escort frigates that undertook roles including area air defence, anti-submarine warfare, surveillance, reconnaissance and interdiction. In August 1990, HMAS Darwin became the first Australian ship to deploy to the Persian Gulf.

In 2014 she intercepted over 1000 kilos of heroin and over 6000 kilos of hashish off the east coast of Africa. In 2016 she intercepted heroin worth $800 million and a cache of weapons from a fishing vessel off the coast of Oman.

Two Adelaide class frigates, HMA Ships Melbourne and Newcastle, remain in service as the Royal Australian Navy phases in the enhanced capabilities offered by the Hobart class guided missile frigates.

Ex-HMAS Darwin was granted three Battle Honours: East Timor 1999, Persian Gulf 2002-03 and Iraq 2003. She was decommissioned in December 2017.