HMAS Darwin has conducted a passage exercise with the Chinese People’s Liberation Army-Navy Escort Task Group 152 off the coast of Queensland.
Darwin departed Sydney on 30 December to assume duties as part of Operation MANITOU, which is the Australian Government’s contribution to the international effort to promote maritime security, stability and prosperity in the Middle East region.
The Chinese task group consists of three ships—the Luyang Class destroyer Jinan, (DDG-152), the Jiangkai Class frigate Yiyang (FFG-548), and the Fuchi Class replenishment ship Qindaohu (AOR-886).
While transiting to the port of Brisbane, the task force was escorted by Darwin. The transit gave the opportunity for both countries to conduct officer of the watch manouevers at sea.
The task group will spend five days in Brisbane from 2 January on a respite visit.
The Chinese task group, completed counter-piracy operations in the Gulf of Aden in 2015 before embarking on a global deployment that has seen it visit more than a dozen countries during the past five months. The task group is in the final stages of its global deployment and will return to China in early 2016.
Australia’s Chief of Navy, Vice Admiral Tim Barrett, said the activity was a valuable opportunity for the Royal Australian Navy and the People’s Liberation Army-Navy, to operate together.
“The Royal Australian Navy works with China and all of Australia’s regional partners to provide a stable and cooperative security environment and encourages constructive relations between all militaries in the region,” Vice Admiral Barrett said.
“Activities such as this provide both countries with an opportunity to operate in close proximity and increase their knowledge of each other’s operating procedures.”
HMAS Darwin's rotation in the Middle East is the 62nd deployment of a Royal Australian Navy ship to the region.