Seven-week journey pushes Minehunters to new northern record

This article has photo gallery Published on LCDR Kelli Lunt (author)

Location(s): Hakodate, Japan

Topic(s): HMAS Diamantina (M86), HMAS Gascoyne (M85), East Asia Deployment

Huon class minehunters HMA Ships Diamantina and Gascoyne arrive in Hakodate, Japan for a port visit during their Maritime East Asia deployment. (photo: Unknown)
Huon class minehunters HMA Ships Diamantina and Gascoyne arrive in Hakodate, Japan for a port visit during their Maritime East Asia deployment.

A new record for the Royal Australian Navy’s minehunters has been set, with HMA Ships Diamantina and Gascoyne making their furthest journey north during a recent port visit to Hakodate, Japan.

Located at the southern-most tip of Japan’s northern island of Hokkaido, Hakodate received the minehunters for a few days of respite, after they had travelled for seven weeks and sailed more than 6800 nautical miles.

This achievement broke Diamantina’s record, set earlier this year during a visit to Trincomalee, Sri Lanka.

Hakodate was even more special for the minehunters, because it is home to a Mine Warfare Squadron.

During the visit, personnel from Diamantina, Gascoyne and their Commander Task Group were hosted by Japanese Maritime-Self Defense Force (JMSDF) Mine Warfare Squadron 45’s Japanese Ships Izushima and Aoshima, attending official receptions, conducting professional exchanges and sampling in the local Japanese culture.

Commander Task Group Operations Officer, Warrant Officer Combat Systems Manager Mine Warfare Alan Hart, said Hakodate was a stand-out destination for a port visit in Japan.

“Hakodate is a small fishing village with a very clean environment and really fresh mountain air,” Warrant Officer Hart said.

“The food tasted really clean and different to other areas.

“They had great matcha ice cream and the people were really friendly.

“It certainly was a unique opportunity to head this far north with the capability of the minehunters,” Warrant Officer Hart said.

Seaman Communication Information Systems Tahliah Footman from Gascoyne said the visit to Hakodate was a highlight of her first sea-going posting.

“Joining HMAS Gascoyne for my first ever ship posting has been an amazing experience, especially with everything the ship and ship’s company has achieved on this deployment,” Seaman Footman said.

“Hakodate was a quiet little town full of culture, which I was lucky enough to experience.

“I was able to visit the temple in Goryokaku Park, which was a very calming and peaceful place,” she said.

In the transit to Hakodate, the Task Group used more than 440,000 litres of diesel fuel, cooked and ate more than 3750 meals and avoided four typhoons.

The last ship to visit Hakodate was HMAS Canberra (II) in 1993.

Diamantina and Gascoyne visited Hakodate as part of their Maritime East Asia deployment.

Imagery is available on the Navy Imagery Gallery: http://images.navy.gov.au/S20193076.

Royal Australian Naval personnel Commander Task Group Chief of Staff Lieutenant Commander Daniel Lister, left; Commanding Officer HMAS Gascoyne Lieutenant Commander Sean Aitken, centre left; Commander Task Group Commander Brett Dawe, centre right; and Commanding Officer of HMAS Diamantina Lieutenant Commander Darren McDevitt, inner right, stand in front of Diamantina with Japanese Maritime Self Defense Force counterparts following the arrival of HMA Ships Diamantina and Gascoyne to Hakodate, Japan.

Royal Australian Naval personnel Commander Task Group Chief of Staff Lieutenant Commander Daniel Lister, left; Commanding Officer HMAS Gascoyne Lieutenant Commander Sean Aitken, centre left; Commander Task Group Commander Brett Dawe, centre right; and Commanding Officer of HMAS Diamantina Lieutenant Commander Darren McDevitt, inner right, stand in front of Diamantina with Japanese Maritime Self Defense Force counterparts following the arrival of HMA Ships Diamantina and Gascoyne to Hakodate, Japan.