The crew of Australian Defence Vessel Cape Byron gathered on the upper deck to farewell and hand-back the Cape class patrol boat as her duties for Navy completed.
Defence has been operating up to two Cape class boats on loan from the Australian Border Force and the vessel was returned in Henderson, Western Australia, after just under two years delivering on operational commitments.
The seamless hand-over demonstrated the close working relationship between the forces.
Executive Officer Cape Byron Lieutenant Commander Emma McDonald-Kerr said that Cape Byron had chalked-up many achievements defending Australia’s maritime security interests.
“Since July 2015, Cape Byron steamed 68,208 nautical miles whilst operated by a Royal Australian Navy crew and spent 6,494 hours underway,” Lieutenant Commander McDonald-Kerr said.
“Cape Byron was exclusively force assigned to Operation RESOLUTE and patrolled Australian waters stretching from Queensland to Western Australia.
“We have undertaken a number of boardings that have resulted in four apprehensions in the vicinity of Ashmore Island, the Torres Strait and Darwin.
Dual-crewed, dubbed Port and Starboard, the Navy team used the vessel to great impact in the region.
“In a major hit to illegal fishing in Australian waters, the Port crew apprehended a foreign fishing vessel west of Thursday Island and located 500 kilograms of fresh fish, and about nine tons of fish in freezer compartments,” Lieutenant Commander McDonald-Kerr said.
“Navy and the Australian Border Force have worked cooperatively to transition this capability between departments, maximising operational availability to protect Australia’s border and offshore maritime interests.”
Accepting the keys from Navy’s Commanding Officer, Lieutenant Commander Steve Noakes of Starboard crew, incoming Australian Border Force Commanding Officer Inspector Mark Radon said that Cape Byron would continue to maintain Australia's national security.
“I am excited to take command of Cape Byron with my new crew keen and ready to sail,” Inspector Radon said.
“The vessel will undergo deep-level maintenance and then we will sail to operational areas to play a significant role in border security,” he said.
Later this month Navy will accept the Austal-built vessel Cape Inscription into the fleet and operate under command of Fleet Commander Australia.