Helicopter frigate HMAS Anzac has departed Sydney on a three month deployment to South East Asia.
The ship will visit a number of ports while deployed in order to strengthen relationships and interoperability with some of Australia’s close partners in the region.
Anzac’s Commanding Officer, Commander Michael Devine, noted the importance of the ship’s deployment in reinforcing ties with some of our closest neighbours.
“Among other countries we will be visiting Papua New Guinea, the Philippines, Vietnam and Indonesia, all of which are important diplomatic and economic partners to Australia.
“Australia also shares a responsibility with these nations for security of the oceanic trade routes between our countries and in the region, so the enhancement of interoperability between our navies is vital,” Commander Devine said.
Among Anzac’s ship’s company are a number of sailors and officers making the first overseas deployment of their Navy careers.
Able Seaman Combat Systems Operator Crystal Patterson, was farewelled by her partner Patrick, also an Able Seaman Combat System Operator.
“Not only is this my first deployment, but it will also be my first time overseas, so I am looking forward to the port visits and exercises with other navies’” she said.
“I will miss Patrick, but I know that we will be really busy throughout the trip. There is a lot of experience in our crew, and I think this will be a good learning opportunity in a great team.”
Although Anzac’s Operations Officer, Lieutenant Stephen Gaisford, has been immersed in preparing for the deployment and the various activities that will make up the ship’s program, he also emphasised the importance of family time at the ship’s departure as he was farewelled by his family – Tracee, Landon, Alexis and Piper.
“By coming to our departure the whole family gets to see where we work, and they see the ship leaving the wharf, adding a sense of importance about what we are doing.
“This is especially important for the little ones, and it provides a sense of validation for the whole family and also for the ship’s company,” Lieutenant Gaisford said.
Commander Devine also said that the deployment is another important milestone in the ship’s recent program.
“Our departure on this deployment caps off what has been a very busy period of time, not only in preparing for this trip, but in various exercises and activities over the past months,” Commander Devine said.
“In setting off for such an important deployment, the support of the families of our ship’s company is critically important, and we were pleased to be able to share our departure with family and friends at Fleet Base East.”