HMAS Darwin berthed at Sattahip Naval Base, Thailand recently, to a friendly and musical welcome from her Thai Navy counterparts.
While in Thailand, three crew from the Australian Navy warship, which is currently enroute to Operation MANITOU in the Middle East, took the opportunity to ‘cross-deck’ onto His Majesty’s Thai Ship Sukhothai while three of their members joined Darwin.
The opportunity was also taken for some formation sailing and communication exercises, culminating in an impressive farewell manoeuvre by Sukhothai.
On arrival for the five day visit, the Australians were welcomed by a formation of Royal Thai Navy sailors and the Thai Navy Band playing some familiar Aussie tunes.
Darwin’s Commanding Officer, Commander Phillip Henry, was greeted by Captain Chaloemporn and presented with a ceremonial lei.
“An Australian Navy ship visiting Sattahip is an important opportunity to reaffirm the close working relationship between our two navies,” Commander Henry said.
For many of Darwin’s crew, this was their first overseas port visit to a country.
Lieutenant Scott Benstead said getting out ashore to see the sights was his first priority.
“Visiting Thailand has been high on my list of places to go," he said.
"It was exciting to pull into port, and after doing the necessary jobs of getting stores and fuel aboard, we had a chance to head to Pattaya."
Darwin’s Photographer, Able Seaman Imagery Specialist Sarah-Jayne Ebsworth, took the opportunity to conduct a photography class for her shipmates at a number of the tourist attractions.
Another highlight for the crew was having lunch prepared for them by the head chef of the Pattaya Marriot Hotel, with the crew enjoying a feast of traditional Thai dishes.
HMAS Darwin is currently transiting via South East Asia to the Middle East (Operation MANITOU) as part of the 62nd rotation of Royal Australian Navy units to the region since 1990. This will be Darwin’s seventh deployment to the Middle East.