HMAS Huon has returned home to Australia after more than four months deployed in North East Asian waters following the longest voyage undertaken by a Royal Australian Navy (RAN) mine warfare vessel.
The trip was not smooth sailing all the time, with the ship passing volcanoes and avoiding cyclones during the deployment. Huon visited ports in the Republic of Korea (ROK), Japan, the Philippines and Indonesia.
Along with sister ship HMAS Gascoyne, Huon exercised with ROK, Japanese and United States Navy units contributing to mine warfare and mine countermeasures activities and training. This was the first time RAN Mine Warfare vessels had ever sailed to the region and was the furthest destination north for both ships.
For the Commanding Officer of Huon, Lieutenant Commander Christopher Cockerill, it was a positive experience and one he will never forget.
“The voyage was extremely challenging at times with hostile weather and unfamiliar mine hunting environments, but Huon achieved all set objectives and displayed remarkable teamwork and resilience through difficulties ‒ I am very proud of their work,” LCDR Cockerill said.
The crew of Huon enjoyed the opportunity to visit ports many in the Mine Warfare community do not normally get to see.
Able Seaman Combat Systems Operator Mine Warfare Zachary Muller saw the deployment as an opportunity to engage with other navies As well as visiting regional neighbours.
“In the ROK and Japan, I was fortunate to visit their ships where they hosted us and I learned how my counterparts work. There were more similarities than differences. It was a terrific experience,” AB Muller said.
Huon returned to its Sydney homeport after spending the Christmas season away at the end of the voyage home. The crew is looking forward to taking some well-earned leave to catch up with family and friends.