Million miles for Darwin

Published on LCDR Jason O'Gorman (author), ABIS Sarah Ebsworth (photographer)

Location(s): Darwin

Topic(s): Operations, Operation MANITOU, Ships, Boats and Submarines, Guided Missile Frigate (FFG), HMAS Darwin (F04), Counter-piracy, Counter-terrorism, Deployment

Youngest member of HMAS Darin's ship's company, Seaman Maritime Logistics - Chef John King, and Commanding Officer, Commander Phillip Henry, celebrated HMAS Darwin's one million miles steamed by cutting a cake in the Port of Darwin. (photo: ABIS Sarah Ebsworth)
Youngest member of HMAS Darin's ship's company, Seaman Maritime Logistics - Chef John King, and Commanding Officer, Commander Phillip Henry, celebrated HMAS Darwin's one million miles steamed by cutting a cake in the Port of Darwin.

HMAS Darwin celebrated a significant milestone this week, notching up her one millionth nautical mile the same day as she sailed into her namesake city.

The warship, which departed Sydney on 30 December, bound for the Middle East, clocked the figure off the coast of the Northern Territory, and celebrated with a commemorative cake on arrival in Darwin - her last Australian port before sailing north.

Commanding Officer, Commander Phillip Henry, said it was a moment to reflect for the crew of the frigate.

"Since she was launched in 1982, Darwin has travelled the equivalent of 2.4 times to the moon and back, or 46.2 times around the circumference of the Earth," he said.

"Darwin has deployed six times to the Middle East region - we're taking her on her seventh and most likely final run."

The over the years the ship has also deployed to East Timor and been involved in operations in the Solomon Islands.

Commander Henry said taking the oldest ship in the fleet to the Middle East was a proud experience.

"I'm in charge of the most experienced commissioned ship in the Royal Australian Navy," Commander Henry said.

"I'm filled with pride to be able command a ship with such a rich, proud history.

"I'm even prouder to be leading this capable and hard working ship's company, who've undergone intense training to prepare for this deployment."

Darwin will spend six-months conducting counter terrorism, counter piracy and narcotics interdiction operations in the Middle East region as part of Operation MANITOU.  The frigate will operate as part of multi-national Combined Maritime Forces, which patrols more than 2.5 million square miles of international waters to enhance regional security and prosperity.

While Darwin's stop over in her namesake city was only an overnight stay, the frigate is planning a longer visit on her return.

The Australian frigate will conduct port visits in South-East Asia enroute to her duties in the Middle East.