HMAS Newcastle counter narcotics opertations in the Middle East are part of the Combined Maritime Forces in the region, supported by many nations.
Her operations are only possible due to assistance of replenishment ships such as French Ship Var, and replenishment at sea.
In a recent rendezvous, fuel and food stores were embarked in a combined vertical and at sea replenishment.
Lieutenant Thomas Ford, Newcastle’s Navigating Officer, said the crew of both vessels were well prepared for the task.
“The synergy demonstrated today between Newcastle and Var is no accident”, he said.
“Both ships have recently conducted combined ship handling, search and rescue, and replenishment training exercises in the vicinity of the Seychelles.”
Both ships’ companies linked fuelling equipment for the transfer of diesel and aviation fuel, while Newcastle’s Seahawk helicopter, call sign 'Fat Cat', transferred vital cargo to replenish Newcastle’s ration holdings.
“The crew were starting to crave both fresh fruit and Nutella!” Deputy Maritime Logistics Officer Lieutenant Samantha Walker said.
“Newcastle’s rations are now restored back to maximum capacity."
In total, 29 pallets of fresh, frozen, and refrigerated goods were transferred from Var’s flight deck to Newcastle.
Flight Commander Lieutenant Commander Chris Mitchell said the experienced coordination between the two ships was apparent, with the majority of loads transferred while the ships were linked together in their positions.
“Recent replenishments, transfer and helicopter control operations have enhanced the working relationship between the two nations and provided a solid training platform for the safe and successful conduct of today’s concurrent evolutions.”
Following the replenishment, Newcastle was able to continue with the first narcotics interdiction patrol of a six month deployment to the region.
Newcastle is currently deployed on Operation MANITOU, which is Australia’s military contribution to the international effort to promote maritime security, stability and prosperity in the Middle East region via counter terrorism, counter piracy and narcotics interdiction operations.
Newcastle is on patrol with the Combined Maritime Forces and Combined Task Force 150, of which Var is the command ship.