Family and friends waved goodbye to HMAS Darwin as she departed Garden Island, Sydney, today on a seven-month deployment to the Middle East Area of Operations (MEAO).
Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Defence, the Honorable Darren Chester MP, Commander Australian Fleet, Rear Admiral Tim Barrett and Commander Surface Forces, Commodore Jonathan Mead joined family and friends on the wharf for Darwin’s farewell ceremony.
In a farewell speech, Rear Admiral Barrett sincerely thanked those gathered for their support to the ship’s company.
“None of this would be possible without the ongoing support of family and friends,” Rear Admiral Barrett said.
“The significance of their encouragement to the men and women being farewelled today, and the wider naval community, cannot be overstated.”
Rear Admiral Barrett also shared his pride for those departing on an operational tour of duty.
“The two hundred and twenty men and women onboard HMAS Darwin will be contributing to a global mission, a mission that, is having tangible results in disrupting piracy and the cross-border transport of criminals, narcotics and weapons, and ensuring the continued safety of all mariners at sea.
“Our forces continue to be held in the very highest regard by our international allies as a direct result of the hard work, commitment, loyalty and enthusiasm of our navy family,” said Rear Admiral Barrett.
Darwin is sailing to the MEAO to undertake maritime security and interception operations as part of Operation SLIPPER.
Operation SLIPPER is the Australian Defence Force contribution to the international campaign against terrorism, counter smuggling and counter piracy in the Gulf of Aden, and enhancing regional maritime security.
Rear Admiral Barrett extended his well wishes to both the new joiners and experienced crew members onboard.
“Some members of the Ship’s Company will be deploying for the first time, excited and no doubt nervous at the opportunities that lie ahead over the next six months; others will be veterans of this operation, ready to lend their experience and steady hand to achieve their mission.
“Regardless of experience, each and every one of the Ship’s Company trained extremely hard for this mission ensuring Darwin is prepared and ready for the exciting and demanding experiences that lie ahead.”
Darwin will be relieving the Guided Missile Frigate HMAS Melbourne on station.
The deployment marks Darwin’s 6th deployment to MEAO and the first since her upgrade in 2007-2008. It also marks the 57th rotation of a RAN ship to the MEAO since the commencement of the Second Gulf war in 1990.