Sister ships share final transit

This article has photo gallery Published on LCDR Jason O’Gorman (author), LSIS Peter Thompson (photographer)

Topic(s): HMAS Melbourne (F05), HMAS Sirius (A266), HMAS Darwin (F04), Indo-Pacific Endeavour

HMA Ships Darwin (right) and Melbourne, part of task group Indo-Pacific Endeavour 2017, steam in company in the Gulf of Carpentaria.  (photo: LSIS Peter Thompson)
HMA Ships Darwin (right) and Melbourne, part of task group Indo-Pacific Endeavour 2017, steam in company in the Gulf of Carpentaria.
HMAS Darwin and her younger sister HMAS Melbourne have shared their last moments together, showing the rest of the Navy that the guided missile frigates are still an impressive capability.
 
The Adelaide class frigates have deployed concurrently with a number of other Australian Navy ships to the Asian region, however, Darwin’s program will see her decommission before Melbourne returns home from the deployment in December.
 
Seizing the opportunity, Commanding Officer Darwin, Commander Phillip Henry, invited Melbourne, led by Commander Charles Bourne, to join them for some challenging Navy manoeuvres. 
 
The ships conducted close quarters manoeuvring before sailing together side-by-side at 24 knots. Despite her age, the 33-year-old Darwin easily kept up with her 25-year-old sister.

Darwin’s Navigator, Lieutenant Simon Murray, said he revelled in the training.     
 
“It’s great to see how the First Lady of the Fleet and her younger sister still enjoy stretching their legs and showing the rest of the fleet there is still life in the old girls,” he said.
 
“We won’t be seeing Melbourne again prior to decommissioning, so this felt like an appropriate way to say goodbye.”
 
An Australian Defence Force Joint Task Group has deployed to the Indo-Pacific region with a focus on security cooperation and humanitarian assistance and disaster relief exercises with regional nations.
 
The manoeuvres finished with Darwin and Melbourne conducting a dual replenishment at sea with auxiliary oiler, HMAS Sirius before taking up their stations in protection of the Joint Task Group.