HMAS Bathurst represented the Royal Australian Navy along with 36 warships from over 16 nations in the Langkawi International Maritime and Aeronautical Exhibition (LIMA) at Langkawi Island, Malaysia between 16-19 March.
Participating nations opened their ships to each other to discuss systems and procedures, and displays including precise flying teams from Malaysia, Singapore, China and Indonesia and a low level high power overflight by a United States Air Force B52 Bomber.
A highlight for many was the Chiefs of Navy Round Table discussing the perspectives of Malaysia, Singapore, New Zealand and the United States of America, on 'Enhancing the roles of ASEAN Navies and Partners in Maritime Security'.
This presentation highlighted the requirements for all ASEAN Navies and partners to work together to achieve maritime security in the region, and identified many elements that these partners already conduct together including exercises and execution of bi and multi-lateral patrols to achieve this end state.
One of the main events was the Fleet Review, in which all personnel, dressed in their best ceremonial uniforms 'manned ship' for the Malaysian Minister for Defence to review. The event was concluded with a low level flyover by five Malaysian Navy Helicopters.
Sub Lieutenant Robert McRae was embarked in Bathurst undergoing training and said it was a great experience so early in his naval career.
“This was my first ever 'man and cheer ship', I hope it is not my last and I know a number of other junior members of the crew are in the same position,” he said.
Officers of Bathurst attended a number of functions aboard foreign ships such as the Indian ship INS KAMORTA and the Pakistan ship PNS ZULFIQUAR. Conversations ranged from naval traditions and warfare through to the all important Cricket World Cup.
To top off a great visit, the local Malaysian Navy, Air Force, Police and Coast Guard provided capability demonstrations daily in the harbour ranging from live firings on a not so distant island to fire fighting planes dumping water just after overflying the visiting warships at anchor. Helicopter formations and jet flyovers were also not uncommon throughout the day. The friendly, helpful and organised Malaysian Navy representatives were a credit to their service and improved the quality of the visit.
The Australian and Malaysian navies have a high regard for each other. This interaction again allowed the exchanging of ideas and networking to progress the friendship.