The crew of HMAS Arunta took a short break from the Royal Australian Navy’s first major exercise this year to visit the seaside community of Portland, Victoria.
Once alongside, the helicopter frigate engaged in a busy schedule of sporting events and official functions.
Arunta’s Commanding Officer, Commander Troy Duggan, thanked Portland for the warm welcome and said giving back to the Australian communities that supported the service was a key focus for Navy.
“The people of Portland have been wonderfully accommodating, and we have thoroughly enjoyed our visit here,” Commander Duggan said.
“Portland is an important seaport for regional shipping, as well as an historic and picturesque township.
During the three-day port visit, Arunta gave prominent community members, such as Glenelg Shire Council Deputy Mayor Crissy Hawker and members of the local Australian Navy Cadet unit, TS Henty, a tour of the warship.
Arunta’s crew also played Australian Rules football, netball and soccer with local sporting clubs.
Leading Seaman Physical Training Instructor Matthew Rowe said Arunta welcomed the change of pace from high-end warfighting in the Bass Strait.
“Sport is one of the best ways for us to engage with the community,” Leading Seaman Rowe said.
“It’s a great way to meet some local people, keep fit, and is part of Australian and Navy culture,” he said.
Seven Royal Australian Navy vessels, including Arunta, and aircraft from the Royal Australian Air Force, United States Navy and Royal New Zealand Air Force have been involved in the Fleet Certification Period 2020 (FCP20) since 17 February.
FCP20 certifies participating units are ready to deploy on behalf of the Australian Government.
The exercise is held in the Bass Strait, involves more than 2000 military personnel, and finishes 6 March.