Tobruk returns from humanitarian mission

This article has photo gallery Published on Ms Natalie Staples (author), ABIS Jake Badior (photographer)

Topic(s): Humanitarian and Disaster Relief (HADR), Return to Australia, HMAS Tobruk (II)

Leading Seaman Electronics Technician Ben Walters is greeted by his children Millie and Owen on the wharf at Garden Island. (photo: ABIS Jake Badior)
Leading Seaman Electronics Technician Ben Walters is greeted by his children Millie and Owen on the wharf at Garden Island.

Just in time for Christmas, HMAS Tobruk personnel returned to their home port Garden Island, Sydney after spending the last six weeks supporting Australian Defence Force Humanitarian Disaster Relief operations in the Philippines.

Commander Australian Fleet, Rear Admiral Tim Barrett returned from leave to welcome the ship alongside.  Acting and Commander Australian Fleet, Commodore Jonathan Mead congratulated the hard-working sailors and officers on their tireless assistance to the multi-national response effort.

“In November, Tobruk deployed to the Philippines to provide assistance to the people following Tropical Cyclone Haiyan. The ship sailed with an embarked Army Recovery Support Force, medium landing craft (LCM8) and a Navy MRH-90.”

“While in the disaster zone, Tobruk conducted an amphibious lodgement of the embarked Army Recovery Support Force in Ormoc Bay and took part in clean up tasks at three local schools. She also distributed aid from the World Food Programme and the Philippine Government to remote islands in the Visayas archipelago,” said Commodore Mead.

Seaman Maritime Logistics Cook Karlee Rance of HMAS Tobruk helps to clean up debris at the Benolho School, Ormoc, as part of Operation PHILIPPINES ASSIST.

Seaman Maritime Logistics Cook Karlee Rance of HMAS Tobruk helps to clean up debris at the Benolho School, Ormoc, as part of Operation PHILIPPINES ASSIST.

Commanding Officer of Tobruk, Commander Leif Maxfield, said the ship’s company is proud to have helped those in need.

“We sailed from Sydney on 20 October for a deployment to the Solomon Islands, little did we expect that we would be re-tasked to provide humanitarian support to the Philippines,” said Commander Maxfield.

“Arriving in Ormoc Bay, the scale of damage was significant. The crew worked hard as part of the multi-national effort to help the local people get their lives back to normal as quickly as possible.”

“Arriving back in Sydney, the crew is excited to be joining our loved ones for Christmas.  The consensus on the ship is that we are all proud to have made a positive difference. This is what many of us joined the Navy for and why we train so hard,” said Commander Maxfield.

Before docking in Sydney, Tobruk made a short stop in Townsville, unloading 35 members of the Army Recovery Support Force, LCM8 and an MRH-90. The crew of the amphibious landing ship will now proceed on leave, with HMAS Choules and ADV Ocean Shield, the assigned Humanitarian and Disaster Response Vessels over the Christmas period.

The Australian Defence Force contribution to the response to Tropical Cyclone Haiyan started on 13 November 2013 after a request for support from the Philippine Government and commitment from the Australian Government to provide assistance.

Leading Seaman Maritime Logistics Cook Jaala Hayes gets to know a local family at the Benolho School, Ormoc, during Operation PHILIPPINES ASSIST.

Leading Seaman Maritime Logistics Cook Jaala Hayes gets to know a local family at the Benolho School, Ormoc, during Operation PHILIPPINES ASSIST.