Families and friends braved the coldest day Perth has experienced for some time on 7 June to farewell HMAS Perth as the ship sailed for duties as part of Operation MANITOU.
With the top temperature hovering around the 15oC mark and a biting wind bringing sporadic showers, Perth slipped out of Fleet Base West into Cockburn Sound on the start of a six-month deployment to the Middle East.
In his speech prior to the ship sailing, Commander Australian Fleet Rear Admiral Stuart Mayer said despite this being the 63rd rotation of a Royal Australian Navy ship to the region, it represented a number of firsts for the Royal Australian Navy.
“This will be the first deployment of Perth to the Middle East, the first deployment of an Anti-Ship Missile Defence upgraded Anzac class frigate, the first deployment of an MH-60R helicopter, and of course the first for the majority of this 192-strong crew,” Rear Admiral Mayer said.
“Over the next six months, the men and women of Perth will be contributing to a global mission; a mission, I can assure you, that is having tangible results in disrupting piracy and the cross-border transport of criminals, narcotics and weapons.”
Rear Admiral Mayer paid tribute to the family and friends of Perth’s crew, saying they played a significant role in the ship’s deployment.
“None of this would be possible without your ongoing support,” he said.
Perth’s Commanding Officer Captain Ivan Ingham said the first task the ship would undertake would be to scatter the ashes of the last surviving officer to have served in HMAS Perth I, Lieutenant Gavin Campbell.
“After that ceremony we will conduct a passage of the North-West Shelf, and then head towards Indonesia and after that the Middle East,” Captain Ingham said.
Perth will replace Adelaide class frigate, HMAS Darwin, as Australia’s contribution to counter terrorism, counter piracy, narcotics interdiction, and the improvement of overall stability in that region.
For more information about HMAS Perth visit the Navy website http://www.navy.gov.au/hmas-perth-iii.