HMAS Melbourne’s new Commanding Officer has given his crew a personal commitment that their welfare and professional development are at the top of his priority list.
Commander Charles Bourne took the weight from Commander Bill Waters during a recent ceremony at Fleet Base East, Sydney.
“The safety and welfare of every single sailor and officer on board will remain of paramount importance to me during my tenure as Commanding Officer,” Commander Bourne said.
“My expectation is the ship is a place where everyone is safe, can develop professionally and personally, and ultimately depart with nothing but good memories of their time.”
Commander Bourne has previously served as Commanding Officer of the Heavy Landing Craft HMAS Brunei and Executive Officer of the guided missile frigate HMAS Newcastle.
He said Melbourne had “earned an outstanding reputation within the Fleet” under Commander Waters’ leadership and that he was looking forward to returning the ship to sea and commencing operations later this year.
Commander Waters was the Commanding Officer of Melbourne when her crew seized almost 1000kg of heroin, valued at about $390 million, during a recent deployment to the Middle East.
He said leading the frigate had been the culmination of a boyhood dream.
“I joined the Navy with the hope that one day I might be given the great honour of commanding a warship. As a boy from Melbourne city I would not have even dared hope that my ship would be my city’s namesake,” he said.
“I have enjoyed my time onboard even more than I imagine possible and that is thanks to the incredible men and women who have served on her and those who cheered us on from home.
“It has been an extraordinary experience because of extraordinary people and I am indebted to all of you for everything you have done.”
Commander Waters has been posted to the United States Navy War College in Rhode Island as a representative of the Royal Australian Navy.
Melbourne is currently alongside Fleet Base East undergoing maintenance. She returned from a seven-month deployment to the Middle East in February.
The Adelaide-class frigate commissioned on 15 February 1992 and will celebrate her 25th anniversary next year.