Whilst en route to the Middle East Area of Operations for Operation SLIPPER, HMAS Darwin recently conducted a port visit to Kochi, India which culminated in a successful bilateral exercise. This visit was one in a series of Australian engagements with India to reinforce the two Navy’s interoperability, co-operation and rapport.
Darwin's visit saw her host an official function for some of India’s strategic leaders, host ship tours, play a friendly game of soccer with sailors from the Indian Navy and enjoy a tour of the Indian Navy Southern Command.
On departing Kochi, Darwin rendezvoused with Indian Navy Ship (INS) Sunayna for a passage exercise (PASSEX) that saw Darwin and Sunayna conduct mutual boardings to observe each navy’s boarding procedures.
Lieutenant Ben McGrath, RAN who boarded Sunayna said, “It was a beneficial and constructive evolution for the boarding party. The fundamentals of how we conduct business are very similar and such exercises foster good relations and interoperability between our navies.”
On completion of the boarding exercises, Sunayna took charge of Officer of the Watch (OOW) manoeuvres with Darwin. This gave both ships the opportunity to collaborate and demonstrate maneuvering capabilities. The PASSEX concluded with Sunayna's sailors lining the upper decks and cheering ship, as she sailed past Darwin.
Commanding Officer HMAS Darwin, Commander Terence Morrison, RAN remarked, “This PASSEX has been very beneficial and the experience will greatly assist the Australian and Indian navies in future bilateral exercises.”