Island stopover for Minehunter

This article has photo gallery Published on Ms Natalie Staples (author)

Location(s): Lord Howe Island, Australia

Members of HMAS Gascoyne took time out to visit the War Memorial on Lord Howe Island. (photo: Unknown)
Members of HMAS Gascoyne took time out to visit the War Memorial on Lord Howe Island.

The ship’s company of HMAS Gascoyne have enjoyed a brief stop over on World Heritage Listed Lord Howe Island, prior to starting deep diving training.
The Mine Hunter Coastal spent two days exploring the small volcanic island that stretches only 10 kilometres long and has a population of only 347 people.  While in port, six members of the crew visited Lord Howe Island Comprehensive School and told the excited students about life in the Navy.
Personnel also took the opportunity to visit the local war memorial reflecting on service past. 
Commanding Officer Gascoyne, Lieutenant Commander Alan Parton said his ship’s company enjoyed the time ashore.
“This was a great opportunity for members of Gascoyne to not only meet the young children of the island, but to also to pay their respects to those who have made the ultimate sacrifice,” he said.
The ship left her homeport of HMASWaterhen in Sydney on 29 February and set sail for Lord Howe and enjoyed the brief respite of a two day port visit to the island community.  
"We are here to spend seven days conducting deep water diving training amongst the Lord Howe Island Group, which comprises 28 islands, islets and rocks,” Lieutenant Commander Parton said.
“The training will culminate with the ship’s clearance divers conducting dives in depths of up to 60 metres and the mine warfare sailors exercising their skills in even deeper waters.
“Following deep dive training, we will return to Lord Howe Island for a few days, before setting across the Tasman Sea for Auckland,” Lieutenant Commander Parton said.
This was the first visit to Lord Howe Island by a Royal Australian Navy ship, since HMAS Huon visited in 2014 for the 226th anniversary of the founding of the Island.
Huon Class Coastal Minehunters play a vital role in protecting ships, harbour and infrastructure from the threat of sea mines, ensuring the Nation’s ability to trade and travel. They have specialised high definition sonar designed to search for mines on the seabed.