Foreign navies descend on Sydney

This article has photo gallery Published on Natalie Staples (author), Michelle Haywood (photographer)

Location(s): Sydney, New South Wales

Topic(s): Fleet Base East

Chilean Navy tall ship Buque Escuela Esmeralda is welcomed into Sydney Harbour before berthing at Garden Island, Sydney. (photo: Michelle Haywood)
Chilean Navy tall ship Buque Escuela Esmeralda is welcomed into Sydney Harbour before berthing at Garden Island, Sydney.

Six ships from four navies arrived at Garden Island, Sydney in early November, creating a buzz on the harbour.

The visits came ahead of the Royal New Zealand International Naval Review, which will take place in Auckland later this month.  

Indonesian Navy ship KRI Banda Aceh, a Makassar class landing platform dock was the first to arrive in Sydney.

Chilean Navy tall ship Buque Escuela Esmeralda followed a few days later.  The sail training ship, which is undertaking her 61st training cruise, was welcomed to Sydney with a 3 inch gun salute from the cannon positioned near the Royal Australian Navy Heritage Centre.  She was escorted by a fleet of vessels including local tall ships Southern Swan, South Passage and James Craig and a fire tug.

Eight Australian midshipmen, undergoing phase two of their Joint Warfare Application Course, joined the Esmeralda in Jervis Bay, south of Sydney, for the voyage into the city.  Midshipman Connor Hoban said it was a memorable experience.

“The entry into Sydney Harbour consorted by other tall ships with flags flying was pretty breathtaking,” he said.

Esmeralda is 62 years old and the crew is made up of 330 members, 100 of which are midshipmen who have just finished Chilean Naval Academy.

“It was fascinating spending time on the ship,” Midshipman Hoban said.

“It was suprising to see how many of those onboard have had similar paths. The way they do things on the bridge and the traditions between our two navies are very similar,” Midshipman Hoban said.

Hot on the heels of Esmeralda’s arrival were two Republic of Korea Navy ships, destroyer Chungmugong Yi Sunsin and fast combat support ship Cheonji, which arrived for a three day visit to Sydney.  

Indian multi-role frigate INS Shivalik and patrol vessel INS Sumitra also made the journey to Sydney and conducted a number of engagements alongside.  

The Royal Australian Navy regularly welcomes foreign navy ships to Australian ports and in turn strengthens relationships with international partners by visiting ports across the globe.