The crew of HMAS Ballarat formed up port-side and bid farewell to families, friends and well-wishers recently at Fleet Base West, south of Perth, before sailing through Careening Bay for a deployment throughout South East Asia.
Since completing the anti-ship missile defence upgrade in 2016, busy Ballarat has completed her own readiness assessments, escorted both Canberra class amphibious ships, and participated in Exercises RIMPAC and NORTHERN SHIELD, in addition to border protection duties assigned to Operation RESOLUTE.
During their RESOLUTE patrol the crew observed the Cocos Keeling Island group, the First World War engagement ground of HMAS Sydney and SMS Emden and conducted a logistics visit to Christmas Island before a quick transit back to Fleet Base West which provided 10 days of deployment preparations before sailing again.
Commanding Officer Commander David Landon said that Ballarat’s upcoming deployment was an opportunity to strengthen international relations through the participation in exercises BERSAMA SHIELD and AUSTHAI, the International Maritime Defence Expo in Singapore and the International Maritime Review marking the Republic of Singapore Navy’s 50th Anniversary.
“This deployment will provide a strong foundation for Ballarat’s participation in TALISMAN SABRE 2017 which will be the final exercise of the deployment before returning to Fleet Base West,” Commander Landon said.
Seaman Maritime Logistics Support Operations Sarah Budd was excited about the trip and raring to get across the gangway to join her mates onboard.
“This is my first deployment, new places, new faces - I am thrilled to be part of this deployment and the experiences it offers,” Seaman Budd said.
“I have never travelled overseas and here we go all around Asia.
“Ballarat’s crew are fantastic and along with my busy job, I will be keeping fighting-fit by attending the PT sessions and hitting the gym,” she said.
The crew will take advantage of achieving training objectives during transit, conduct port visits throughout Asia which will culminate in Exercise TALISMAN SABRE 2017 before heading back to Fleet Base West in August.