HMAS Newcastle has started her fourth and final patrol as part of Operation MANITOU with a new focus to provide theatre security cooperation support in the Arabian Gulf.
Operating as part of one of the three task forces operated by Combined Maritime Forces in the Middle East region her role has focussed on maritime security in order to counter terrorist acts and related illegal activities, which terrorists use to fund or conceal their movements.
Newcastle’s Commanding Officer Commander Dominic MacNamara said the tasking provided an excellent opportunity for Newcastle to demonstrate its versatility to respond to the broad range of operations carried out by the combined force.
“During this deployment Newcastle has predominantly conducted counter narcotics operations in the region,” he said.
“However the high level of training and preparation the ship’s company completed prior to deploying allows Newcastle the flexibility and expertise to rapidly adapt to provide maritime security support.”
Units assigned to the security roles conduct routine engagement with local mariners to promote their security presence and gather information about potential security threats.
These operations help to maintain safe transit through the vital Arabian Gulf waterways for world oil transportation.
Newcastle’s Boarding Officer Lieutenant Gideon Watkin explained engagement efforts so far.
“During this patrol we have been liaising with the local fishermen, providing them with food and water and establishing rapport,” he said.
“The knowledge we gain from them helps us to get a better understanding of the situation in the region.”
“This in turn allows us to build a better picture of likely areas we may need to respond to for security or safety incidents which may develop.”
Operation MANITOU is Australia’s military contribution to the international effort to promote maritime security, stability and prosperity in the Middle East via counter terrorism, counter piracy and narcotics interdiction operations.
More imagery is available in the Navy Image Gallery: http://images.defence.gov.au/S20152202