In an historically significant moment, a Royal Australian Navy ship has visited Bangladesh. HMAS Childers, an Armidale Class Patrol Boat, pulled alongside the Port of Chittagong to the welcoming sound of the Bangladesh Navy Band and as soon as the gangway was across, local school children presented the Commanding Officer, Lieutenant Commander Christopher Brough, RAN with fresh flowers.
Lieutenant Commander Brough said he was honoured to visit Bangladesh. “We were very warmly welcomed onto the wharf by our friends from the Bangladesh Navy. It's very exciting to be here.”
The Bangladesh Navy opened their various bases for the crew of Childers to visit and use the facilities. Members of Childers's crew also headed to the Bangladesh Initial Training base in the city’s hills and enjoyed an afternoon of respite sailing, canoeing and swimming on the lake.
Able Seaman Amy Armitage, a Communication Information System sailor onboard Childers, enjoyed her time on the water, and some well deserved rest before sailing in company with the Bangladesh Navy.
“Getting a tour of the Bangladesh Navy’s heaviest Guided Missile Frigate, Somudra Joy, was fantastic.”
The Bangladesh Navy proudly showed their Aussie counterparts around the city and put on a spectacular cultural evening in honour of the RAN visit. Over 700 Bangladesh officers and sailors hosted Childers’ Ship's Company with local cuisine and a show.
Able Seaman Alex Shears, the Chef onboard Childers, was very impressed with the food.
“We were served a variety of breads and curries. I asked the Bangladesh Navy Chefs how they made their traditional roti bread, so on our way back to Australia we might have a Bangladesh night in honour of our port visit.”
In return, and to thank their new friends for their hospitality, the Childers' Ship's Company opened their decks to the Bangladesh Navy with a tour of Childers and a little piece of Australia, with the chefs whipping up some Anzac biscuits.
During the Exercise, Childers will again meet up with the Bangladesh Navy, who are also participating in MILAN 2014, to be held in the Andaman Islands 3-10 February 2014. As part of their trip, Childers will also participate in the International Maritime Seminar on Maritime Cooperation for Humanitarian and Disaster Relief Operations.
During the transit to and from India, Childers has conducted logistical and respite port visits to Myanmar and Singapore.