HMAS Darwin has completed a highly successful maritime security deployment to the Middle East and is now heading home to Sydney.
Deployed under tasking to the US-led Combined Maritime Forces (CMF) and Combined Task Force (CTF) 150, the Guided Missile Frigate with a ship’s company of 232 personnel seized narcotics with a street value of more than AU$2.1 billion during the five-month deployment, including the largest seizure of heroin (1032kg) in the CMF’s history.
Darwin’s Commanding Officer, Commander Terry Morrison said he is extremely proud of the efforts of his crew.
“This team of highly-trained sailors has performed incredibly well in everything from search and rescue operations, to making significant drug interdictions that will effectively impact funding for extremist and terrorist organisations,” CMDR Morrison said.
“We have followed in the wake of a long succession of Australian and Coalition warships and we now wish the crew of HMAS Toowoomba a very successful deployment.
During the deployment, Darwin helped rescue 13 fishermen, including two children found adrift off the coast of Pakistan on 1 March after their vessel had sunk five days earlier.
The ship also conducted a delicate aero-medical evacuation of a French fisherman who had suffered a heart attack at sea.
Commander Joint Task Force 633, Major General Craig Orme also paid tribute to Darwin’s achievements.
“Darwin leaves after a remarkably successful deployment,” MAJGEN Orme said.
“Commander Morrison and his crew have performed to a very high standard - the Royal Australian Navy and Australia can be proud.
“Our efforts continued the promotion of a secure maritime environment for the benefit of legitimate mariners.”
During her deployment HMAS Darwin steamed over 40,000 nautical miles and conducted 23 flag verification boardings, 13 Replenishments at Sea and visited five ports along the east coast of Africa and the Middle East.
Darwin deployed on Operation SLIPPER in January and was reassigned to Operation MANITOU which commenced on 1 July 2014.
Operation MANITOU is the Australian Government’s contribution to the international effort to promote maritime security, stability and prosperity in the Middle East region.
HMAS Darwin is the 57th Australian warship to deploy to the Middle East since the first Gulf War in 1990.
Imagery is available on the Australian Defence Image Library at http://images.defence.gov.au/S20142128.