HMAS Newcastle has completed a five-day port visit alongside Aqaba, Jordan, after her second counter terrorism patrol of Middle Eastern waters.
The visit was the first by an Australian warship since 2013 and provided an excellent opportunity to strengthen ties with Jordanian partners while experiencing the amazing culture and historical significance of the nation.
Newcastle’s Commanding Officer, Commander Mark Sirois, said the ship’s company had recently completed patrols of the Arabian Gulf, Gulf of Oman, Gulf of Aden and the Red Sea.
“We were honoured to host the Commander of the Royal Jordanian Naval Force, Brigadier General Ibrahim Al Na’emat, for an Official Reception as well as other Jordanian dignitaries and the Australian Ambassador,” Commander Sirois said.
“The crew enjoyed socialising with the Commander and local guests while learning about Jordan and the Jordanian Navy.”
Newcastle personnel were spoilt with the amazing cuisine, beautiful culture, and scenery as well as local attractions and ship-organised tours to the ancient city of Petra and the Dead Sea.
Maritime Logistics Officer, Lieutenant Commander Fiona Southwood, said partial funding from the Fleet Cultural and Sporting Activities funds enabled the tours.
“Petra was an amazing cultural experience with thousands of years of ancient history to become immersed in and captivated by,” she said.
“After a walk around the ruins, the tour bus took us on a drive through the Jordanian countryside to the Dead Sea, in which many were amazed by their new found floating abilities caused by the high salinity of the water.
“Many of the crew also took the opportunity to snorkel and scuba dive in the beautiful Red Sea, renowned for crystal clear waters, shipwrecks and reefs.”
“The port visit made for a good break before recommencing the next round of maritime security patrols.”
HMAS Newcastle’s deployment is the 65th rotation of a Royal Australian Navy ship to the region since 1990.