Perth and Sirius conduct North West Shelf patrol

This article has photo gallery Published on LCDR Rob Roscoe (author), ABIS Julianne Cropley (photographer)

Topic(s): HMAS Perth (F157), HMAS Sirius (A266)

HMAS Perth conducts a patrol past an oil rig off the North West Shelf of the Australian coast. (photo: ABIS Julianne Cropley)
HMAS Perth conducts a patrol past an oil rig off the North West Shelf of the Australian coast.

On returning to Australia after a south-east Asian deployment, HMAS Perth joined HMAS Sirius to conduct a security patrol of Western Australia’s North West Shelf. 

As part of the ‘Northern Shield’ mission, Navy continues to contribute to the Government’s maritime security arrangements to the region.

Commanding Officer HMAS Perth Captain Ivan Ingham highlighted the importance of the patrols.

“Northern Shield is a clear demonstration of the Australian Defence Force commitment to this strategically important region,” he said.

“The Royal Australian Navy’s routine and our other-directed patrols provide a visible deterrence and surety that we are able to project force to respond to emerging situations and threats.”

The North West Shelf is key to the Australian economy, given that the region’s oil and gas platforms produce 65 per cent of Western Australia’s domestic gas needs while also accounting for more than 40 per cent of Australia’s oil and gas production. 

This liquefied natural gas industry is also the sixth-largest in the world and, since 1989, has produced enough product to power an economy the size of Japan for over three years, while the wider Pilbara region accounts for approximately 20 per cent of Australia’s exports.

Importantly, this patrol was greatly enhanced by Perth’s new MH-60R Romeo, the first helicopter of this type to embark within a fleet unit, which had embarked only a few days previously. 

The MH-60R provides greatly extended surface search and surveillance capabilities permitting a much wider patrol of the region.

After completing the security patrol, Perth and Sirius will continue operating and training together in preparation for Exercise TALISMAN SABRE.