An ‘on task’ handover has been conducted between HMA Ships Newcastle and Warramunga in the Middle East region.
Newcastle was proceeding home on completion of operational duties as Warramunga commenced her force assignment to Joint Task Force 633, which will see the ship away from home for nine months.
Commander Mark Sirois, Commanding Officer Newcastle, said the mid-ocean handover allowed the ships to undertake a range of evolutions including a cross decking to re-unite family members.
“A complex evolution was conducted at sea to transfer stores between the two ships underway, using the two MH-60R helicopters,” Commander Sirois said.
“We also took the opportunity to re-unite three sets of siblings, some of whom wouldn’t have been able to meet again for 15 months.”
Leading Seaman Maritime Logistics – Chef Dimitri Bellas, Leading Seaman Naval Police Coxswain Jamie Janes, and Able Seaman Maritime Logistics – Chef Peta Large crossed decks from Warramunga to Newcastle to catch up with siblings Leading Seaman Maritime Logistics – Supply Chain Peter Bellas, Leading Seaman Boatswains Mate Isaac Janes, and Able Seaman Maritime Logistics – Chef Paige Large.
Able Seaman Paige Large said it was a great opportunity to say ‘hello and goodbye’ and catch-up for an hour in person.
“An hour wasn’t long enough but it was so good to see each other,” she said.
“We took lots of photos and I’ve already sent them to my Dad and Grandparents!”
Both Command teams were also able conduct handovers in person by boat transfer.
To complete the handover Commander Sirois presented Commander Dugald Clelland, Commanding Officer Warramunga, with the much coveted Rhino Trophy that has been passed from ship to ship on Operation MANITOU.