Melbourne in the Middle

Published on LEUT Andrew Ragless (author), WO Jeannie Roberts (photographer)

Location(s): Dubai, UAE

Topic(s): Operation SLIPPER, HMAS Melbourne (F05)

Warrant Officer Maritime Logistics - Personnel Jeannie Roberts (left) and her niece Able Seaman Maritime Logistics - Steward Anne Marie Becker on the bridge wing of HMAS Melbourne during a port visit to Dubai, UAE. (photo: WO Jeannie Roberts)
Warrant Officer Maritime Logistics - Personnel Jeannie Roberts (left) and her niece Able Seaman Maritime Logistics - Steward Anne Marie Becker on the bridge wing of HMAS Melbourne during a port visit to Dubai, UAE.

Royal Australian Navy frigate HMAS Melbourne has commenced what will be her longest patrol in her Middle East deployment, departing the Port of Dubai in the United Arab Emirates.

During her visit to Dubai, Melbourne took onboard 180,000 litres of diesel fuel, 40,000 litres of fresh water, 1.75 tonnes of fresh meat and fish and received 60 highly anticipated parcels and care-packages from home, weighing a total of 850.4 kilograms.

For two fortunate crew members, the port visit was also an opportunity to catch up with loved ones.

Maritime Logistics - Steward Able Seaman Anne Marie Becker hosted her aunt, Warrant Officer Jeannie Roberts for a brief visit to Melbourne.

Warrant Officer Roberts, who is nearing the end of a seven month deployment as the cashier at Al Minhad Air Base, Dubai, said it was a very special occasion to see her niece.

“It was wonderful to see Anne Marie so happy and focused on her duties.  She has always enjoyed working hard and seems to love life at sea,” she said.

“Last time I saw her was for a sad occasion at my father's funeral, so it was great to meet up with her again under happier circumstances. We were able to catch up with family news and compare our different deployment situations.”

Leading Aircraftwoman Danielle Hill (left) and Sub Lieutenant Matthew Hill meet in front of the Burj Al Khalifa, the worlds tallest building in Dubai, UAE.

Leading Aircraftwoman Danielle Hill (left) and Sub Lieutenant Matthew Hill meet in front of the Burj Al Khalifa, the worlds tallest building in Dubai, UAE.

HMAS Melbourne’s Assistant Weapons Electrical Engineering Officer, Sub Lieutenant Matthew Hill was able to take short leave and meet his sister, Royal Australian Air Force Clerk, Leading Aircraftwoman (LACW) Danielle Hill for lunch at Dubai Mall.

“It was great to see someone from home,” he said.

“We’ve always got friends on the ship but it was good to see a more familiar face. It helped to get over the home sickness and Danielle showed me some pictures of my one-year old nephew Lucas”.

Working as the Australian Air Component Operations/Plans Clerk at Al Minhad Air Base, LACW Hill said seeing Matthew helped with the burden of being away from home.

“It felt surreal to be having lunch with him, sitting in front of the famous Burj Khalifa building,” she said.

“It was definitely not something I envisioned happening on deployment. Saying goodbye was the hardest part, but he will be back in time for my wedding in March.”

HMAS Melbourne is currently midway through a seven month deployment to the Middle East as part of Operation SLIPPER, the Australian Defence Force contribution to the international campaign against terrorism. The ship is also tasked with enhancing regional maritime security and engagement under the direction of the Combined Maritime Forces in Bahrain.