Sirius home after long deployment

This article has photo gallery Published on LEUT Gary McHugh (author), LSIS Richard Cordell (photographer)

Location(s): Fleet Base West, WA

Topic(s): HMAS Sirius (A266), Return to Australia

Makenzie, Max and Madelin wait for dad, Leading Seaman Electronics Technician Mathew Gilgen, to come off the ship as HMAS Sirius returns home to Fleet Base West after departing in August last year. (photo: LSIS Richard Cordell)
Makenzie, Max and Madelin wait for dad, Leading Seaman Electronics Technician Mathew Gilgen, to come off the ship as HMAS Sirius returns home to Fleet Base West after departing in August last year.

The 8th of May would have had a big circle around it on the calendars of many families of HMAS Sirius’ ship’s company, as that was the day the ship returned to her homeport at Fleet Base West after nine months away.

After leaving Western Australia in August 2018, Sirius took part in Exercise KAKADU 2018 off the coast of Darwin, where she demonstrated interoperability with several of Australia’s important regional partners.

Following KAKADU, Sirius sailed for South and North East Asia where the ship made a number of port visits between various international naval exercises.

After visiting ports in Malaysia, Singapore and Vietnam, Sirius headed to Sydney where she undertook a four month maintenance period at the Captain Cook Graving Dock at Garden Island, Sydney.

Once her dry-docking was completed in April, she once again sailed for South East Asia, via Darwin, before heading back to home waters.

Commanding Officer Commander Melanie Verho said it had been a long and busy deployment, with the ship clocking up a remarkable 24,775 nautical miles since leaving Fleet Base West.

“The past nine months have been a challenging and enjoyable time for us as we conducted a number of ‘firsts’ for the ship,” she said.

“We conducted the first ever ‘dry hook-ups’ with ships of regional partner navies, thus proving replenishment at sea (RAS) capability with those navies - an important capability for supporting regional security and stability.

“On the domestic front, we are proud to say we conducted HMAS Brisbane’s first ever replenishment at sea.”

Sirius also took the opportunity while in company with HMAS Success to pass 2000 cubic metres of marine diesel - the last time such an evolution will be performed with Success due to decommission next month.

Commander Verho said her crew was excited to be home after such a long and successful deployment.

“It only occurred to us how long we had been away as we were preparing our winter uniforms to come alongside at Fleet Base West,” she said.

“We departed in our winter uniform last year which means we missed the whole summer uniform season in Western Australia.

“Over the past nine months, Sirius has played a key role in keeping our fleet and ships of allied nations at sea through the provision of underway replenishment capability.

“But we are now all looking forward to a few weeks at home with our loved ones.”

Commander Verho thanked the families of her crew for their support while the ship was away from home.

“Whether they are here in WA or elsewhere, it is the unwavering support of our families and friends that enables us to fulfil our mission at sea: ‘To Serve and Provide’,” she said.

Additional imagery is available on the Navy Image Gallery: http://images.navy.gov.au/S20191132.