Fond farewell to the workhorse of the Fleet

This article has photo gallery Published on Ms Claudia Harrison (author), ABIS Chantell Brown (photographer)

Location(s): Garden Island, NSW

Topic(s): Humanitarian and Disaster Relief (HADR), Decommissioning, HMAS Tobruk (II)

The crew of HMAS Tobruk at her decommissioning ceremony held at Fleet Base East, Sydney. (photo: ABIS Chantell Brown)
The crew of HMAS Tobruk at her decommissioning ceremony held at Fleet Base East, Sydney.

After almost 35 years of dedicated service, the Royal Australian Navy’s humanitarian aid and disaster relief ship HMAS Tobruk was decommissioned at her home port of Garden Island, in Sydney, today.

The Governor-General, His Excellency General the Honourable Sir Peter Cosgrove, AK, MC (Ret’d), together with the Assistant Minister for Defence Stuart Robert, MP, and Chief of Navy Vice Admiral Tim Barrett, AO, CSC, RAN, attended the ceremony.

The ship’s Commanding OfficerCommander Leif Maxfield, accepted the Australian White Ensign, which was lowered for the last time, folded, and handed to him at the ceremony in a mark of tradition.

Commander Maxfield said that it was always sad to farewell as ship such as Tobruk.

“Over her many years of service, Tobruk has provided the Royal Australian Navy, and indeed the Australian Defence Force, with a significant amphibious and sea lift capability.

“We’ve seen Tobruk conduct extensive work both in Australia and around the South West Pacific in the provision of logistic support for humanitarian aid and disaster relief missions.

“She has also contributed to ADF Operations in Somalia, East Timor and the Solomon Islands.

“She has been called upon numerous times to support the Australian Defence Force’s contributions in the region, when natural disasters have struck," said Commander Maxfield.

In the past decade alone, Tobruk has provided humanitarian relief to Operations SAMOA ASSIST, YASI ASSIST, PHILIPPINES ASSIST and PACIFIC ASSIST 2015.

Tobruk was designed for combined Navy and Army amphibious operations. The ship is a multi-purpose troop and roll-on/roll-off, heavy vehicle carrier and includes facilities for bow and stern loading, beaching, a drive-through capacity and inter-deck transfers via ramps.

“I am extremely proud to have served in her,” said Commander Maxfield.

“Today all those that have served in Tobruk throughout her career, can be justifiably proud of what they have achieved.

“Their hard work, dedication and professionalism have created a legacy that will live in on within the Fleet and wider Defence Force. 

“It is wonderful that so many of them could attend the decommissioning and say farewell to such an outstanding ship.”

Imagery of the decommissioning and the ship in action is available at: S20152052.