Perth returns from Middle East mission

This article has photo gallery Published on Ms Natalie Staples (author), LSIS Lee-Anne Mack (photographer)

Location(s): Rockingham, Western Australia

Topic(s): Operation MANITOU, HMAS Perth (F157)

Able Seaman Boatswains Mate Cameron Duggan and his fiancé Pip Garvey on the wharf after HMAS Perth returned to her home port of Fleet Base West, Rockingham after six-months deployed on Operation MANITOU. (photo: LSIS Lee-Anne Mack)
Able Seaman Boatswains Mate Cameron Duggan and his fiancé Pip Garvey on the wharf after HMAS Perth returned to her home port of Fleet Base West, Rockingham after six-months deployed on Operation MANITOU.

Excited friends and family of the 191 men and women onboard HMAS Perth waved from the wharf as the frigate pulled alongside after six months away from home undertaking patrols of thr Middle East as part of  Operation MANITOU.

On the way into port, the frigate paused at 11am for Remembrance Day to pay their respects and commemorate all those who lost their lives in the service of their nation. 

As they arrived at Garden Island, Rockingham a final surprise was revealed as Able Seaman Boatswains Mate Cameron Duggan released the bindings and proposed marriage to his long term girlfriend Pip Garvey.  Ms Garvey was overcome as the marriage proposal was revealed to the crowd of 600 family and friends waiting on the wharf, and thankfully said "yes!".

Commanding Officer Perth, Captain Ivan Ingham, was the first off the gangway and was met by his wife, Celia, and Commander Surface Forces, Commodore Lee Goddard.  He said the ship’s company had excelled in the lead up to and throughout the lengthy deployment.

“I’d like to thank all our families and friends for their unfailing support and encouragement,” he said.

“We’ve had a very full, busy and challenging year – firstly preparing the ship and training for our deployment and then executing our lengthy mission.  

"As the first upgraded Anzac equipped with the new MH-60R combat helicopter, we’ve established the benchmark standard for future operations of the class,” Captain Ingham said.

“During our time on MANITOU, Perth proved a formidable deterrent to terrorists and vessels involved in moving illicit cargoes of weapons and narcotics during the monsoon season, where severe weather conditions present high risks and traffic levels are significant reduced. 

“In spite of the difficult environmental conditions, Perth was always in the right place at the right time, with the MH-60R helicopter conducting search and surveillance operations and with the ships boats and boarding teams ready to deploy and respond to emerging situations.”

Commander Australian Fleet, Rear Admiral Stuart Mayer joined the ship for the last day at sea and spent time speaking with the returning crew.

“Serving as part of the multi-national Combined Maritime Forces, Perth has been at the forefront of maritime security operations,” Rear Admiral Mayer said.

“By conducting maritime security patrols, Perth has promoted regional stability by making sure vital waterways remain safe, free and open for the movement of legitimate trade and commerce. 

"Confidence throughout the region directly affects our trade and commerce and is therefore vital to Australia’s national and economic interests,” 

The return of HMAS Perth marks the 63rd rotation of a Royal Australian Navy major fleet unit to the area since 1990. HMAS Arunta follows in her wake, deploying on 13 November to continue Australia’s commitment.