When the Royal Australian Navy (RAN) frigate HMAS Darwin recently returned to its home port of Sydney, it had a special guest embarked: Rear Admiral Stuart Mayer, CSC and Bar - Navy’s Commander Australian Fleet.
The 232 men and women of Darwin had had an extremely busy and successful deployment to the Middle East as part of operations SLIPPER and MANITOU and rather than simply doing a ‘quick handshake’ on the wharf at Sydney, Rear Admiral Mayer took the opportunity to join Darwin for her final day and night as she sailed up the New South Wales coast from Jervis Bay.
“Darwin’s crew broke several important records during her deployment, including having made the single largest maritime drug haul recorded to date.
“In total, the crew netted over $2.1 billion in drug seizures, conducted some 22 boardings and stepped up to help in three separate safety of life at sea incidents.
“Most of the boardings lasted many hours, and involved painstaking work to locate, identify, measure and dispose of illegal narcotics.
“With these drugs being part of a trade that directly funds terrorist activities, Darwin’s crew’s work was fundamental in fighting terrorism at its very roots,” Rear Admiral Mayer said.
The Fleet Commander hosted a special dinner for key personnel from across the ranks that had been involved in many of the boarding activities, and enjoyed breakfast with members of the crew in the Junior Sailors Café.
Darwin’s Commanding Officer, Commander Terence Morrison welcomed Rear Admiral Mayer aboard for the final part of the trip home.
“It has traditionally been the practice that the Fleet Commander would meet and greet the crew at the wharf, but at that point in time most of the crew are focused on seeing their loved ones.
“By coming aboard for the final leg of the trip, Rear Admiral Mayer has shown a great deal of respect by thanking each member of the crew personally,” Commander Morrison said.
As Darwin sailed into Sydney Harbour with its crew lining the upper decks in the traditional ‘Procedure Alpha’ formation, the Fleet Commander ‘piped’ a short message to the ship’s company.
“As you arrive home today after a long deployment, you can be proud of your achievements.
“A very hard job, very well done,” Rear Admiral Mayer said.
Imagery is available on the Navy Image Library at http://images.navy.gov.au/S20142409.