Indian visit a Goa

This article has photo gallery Published on LEUT Greg Payne (author), ABIS Steven Thomson (photographer)

Location(s): Goa, India

Topic(s): Operation MANITOU, HMAS Arunta (F151)

Petty Officer Electronics Technician Adam Kisiel attempts to block a shot from an Indian Naval player during a friendly match of volleyball held at INS Hansa in Goa, India. (photo: ABIS Steven Thomson)
Petty Officer Electronics Technician Adam Kisiel attempts to block a shot from an Indian Naval player during a friendly match of volleyball held at INS Hansa in Goa, India.

HMAS Arunta personnel have charged their batteries for the start of their Middle Eastern maritime security patrols with food, sport and engagement with Indian Navy counterparts during a port visit. 

The frigate made a four-day logistical and regional engagement visit to the beachside oasis of Goa, India in late November while on their way to their Operation MANITOU assignment.

The visit included Commanding Officer Arunta, Commander Cameron Steil, hosting a luncheon for several senior members of the Indian Navy and Goa State Government. 

Chief Petty Officer Aircraft Technician Avionics Phillip Hirschausen said the major highlight of the trip came on the second day when the crew hosted two groups of 50 students from the local area. 

“The visit allowed the students to gain an appreciation of life in the navy and for most of them it was the first time that they had been in a warship,” Chief Petty Officer Hirschausen said. 

“As one of the hosts of the tour, it was an unforgettable experience. 

"The kids absolutely loved the visit and it was great to see their eagerness and enthusiasm. 

"It was definitely an experience they won’t forget any time soon and the same can be said for the crew.”

The ship’s company also took part in volleyball although Arunta’s team struggled to scratch out a win in the subcontinent heat against the Indian 'Pounding Hammers' team. 

Lieutenant Steven Witzand, Deputy Marine Engineering Officer, said the lopsided result was amended when the nations mixed up the teams for the second round. 

“While it is always great to go head to head against another country, I much preferred the mixed games at the end as it allowed us to really bond with our fellow Commonwealth comrades,” he said.

The third day started off with another much anticipated sporting fixture, this time on the cricket pitch with a 15-over cricket match between Arunta and the local port authority. 

Although Arunta set a solid score of 9/135 with Petty Officer Maritime Logistics - Supply Chain Gary Cooper contributing 45 not out, a skilful performance from the locals saw them chase down the total with one over to spare. 

Rounding out the visit was a tour of the Indian Naval Air Station, INS Hansa, for members of Arunta’s Aviation Department. The crew were led on the tour by Lieutenant Suraj Warang, an Aeronautical Engineer from the base who was also acting as the Liaison Officer for the ship’s visit. 

The crew were taken around to all of the fixed wing and rotary squadrons and were thoroughly impressed with the facilities and aircraft on display. 

They even managed to get a tour of the operational flight line for the Indian Navy’s new MiG29 fighter aircraft.

As the crew departed for the Middle East region they reflected on strengthened ties with India, the many new friendships that have been created and the generosity and warmth of the locals.