Perth prepares for MANITOU

This article has photo gallery Published on Ms Natalie Staples (author), ABIS Richard Cordell (photographer)

Location(s): Rockingham

HMAS Perth's Ships company on the forecastle of the ship alongside at Fleet Base West, HMAS Stirling, W.A. (photo: CPO Damian Pawlenko)
HMAS Perth's Ships company on the forecastle of the ship alongside at Fleet Base West, HMAS Stirling, W.A.

HMAS Perth’s 192 men and women will farewell their loved ones and depart for the Middle East today.

Stores have been loaded and final maintenance conducted, which the Commanding Officer, Captain Ivan Ingham, said represented over a year’s work for the crew.

“It’s a massive undertaking to get a 4,000 tonne ship to sea,” Captain Ingham said.
 
With one in six of the ship’s company new to the ship and half undertaking their first Gulf deployment, Captain Ingham said training and maintenance has been important.
 
“Over the last year we’ve been constantly at sea training and then coming back in to conduct maintenance.  

Perth is in great condition, but she’s not like a car - you can’t service a warship once a year and then drive it 30,000 thousand kilometres.  

“We don’t work towards one point in time, maintenance is an ongoing thing,” Captain Ingham said.
 
With departure day upon them, Captain Ingham said the excitement onboard is palpable.
 
“You can feel the crew’s excitement.  People are looking forward to the professional experience and the life experience.  Of course there are mixed feelings saying goodbye to loved ones, but there are good things to look forward to,” he said.

Leading Seaman Combat Systems Operator, Peter Cooper said while it will be tough to say goodbye to his wife Alisa and daughter Harper, he was excited to get under way.

“Harper will turn two while I’m away. It won’t be easy being away, but it’s the life we choose. 
 
“This is my first Middle East deployment. I’ve done RIMPACs and Operation RESOLUTE, but this is my first MANITOU. 
 
“Getting out there and doing we’ve been training so hard to do is pretty exciting, especially being part of the team we have on Perth – we’re a strong knit crew,” Leading Seaman Cooper said.

For 21 year old Able Seaman Combat Systems Operator Freya Dodd, the deployment offers some exciting opportunities as well as some challenges.

“This is my first trip. I’ve been in the Navy for around two years and joined for the adventure and variety. I’m looking forward to the travel but it’s a little daunting, I don’t know what to expect,” she said.

“I get a little sea sick so I hope I get my sea legs quickly,” Able Seaman Dodd said.

Perth is the first Anti-Ship Missile Defence upgraded Anzac class frigate to deploy to the Middle East and will be accompanied by the first operational MH-60R Seahawk helicopter.