For the past six months, HMAS Toowoomba has been in the Middle East on Operation MANITOU supporting the International Maritime Security Construct to maintain freedom of navigation, international law and free flow of commerce.
According to Officer of the Watch Lieutenant Kate Millward, tempo has been high in the area.
“During recent patrols through the Southern Arabian Gulf and Gulf of Oman, Toowoomba responded to a vessel in distress, conducted surface search and monitoring, continuation training and provided overwatch for more than 60 vessels,” Lieutenant Millward said.
“It’s a busy part of the world and despite the global slowdown of maritime trade and commerce due to COVID-19, there remains a high number of vessels transiting the area.”
Despite the impact to scheduled port visits and logistical challenges caused by the pandemic’s travel and border restrictions, Toowoomba has remained mission-ready and on task.
Commanding Officer Dylan Phillips said because of COVID-19, the crew’s last port visit with shore leave was Muscat, Oman, in late February.
“Toowoomba’s crew have had to make the most of the alongside section of the wharf during logistics visits to Bahrain for respite and replenishment,” Commander Phillips said.
“I am impressed by the resilience and professionalism of my crew.
“Their ability to continue the mission, keep focused and operate at such a high level of proficiency throughout deployment has been exceptional.”
This is the 68th rotation of a Royal Australian Navy unit to the Middle East since 1990, Toowoomba’s sixth, and her second as part of Operation MANITOU.