After nine months operating as part of the Royal Australian Navy Fleet, Spanish Armada Ship, ESPS Cantabria was farewelled from her temporary homeport of Garden Island, Sydney.
Chief of Navy, Vice Admiral Ray Griggs, AO, CSC, RAN joined the Spanish Ambassador to Australia, HE Mr Enrique Viguera, Commander Australian Fleet, Rear Admiral Tim Barrett AM, CSC, RAN and Consul-General of Spain, Alvaro Iranzo Gutierrez on the wharf to acknowledge the bonds developed between the nations.
“Today marks the conclusion of a very successful deployment. Cantabria integrated very effectively into the Royal Australian Navy Fleet and completed everything asked of her with great flexibility and efficiency,” said Vice Admiral Griggs.
“The ship provided the RAN with underway replenishment capability conducting over 58 replenishments, and a chance for over 234 Navy personnel to familiarise themselves with some of the systems we are about to acquire in our new Canberra Class Landing Helicopter Dock ships and the Hobart Class Air Warfare Destroyers.”
“The ground breaking initiative is testament to spirit of cooperation and collaboration that exists between the Spanish Armada and the Royal Australian Navy and is a good example of ‘Smart Defence’,” said Vice Admiral Griggs.
Commander Nieto said his crew will take home many memories from the deployment.
“The highlight for my crew would be sailing into Sydney Harbour as part of the RAN International Fleet Review 2013. Our participation in international Exercises TALISMAN SABRE 13 and TRITON CENTENARY also provided us with important training opportunities,” said Commander Nieto.
“We were also able to trial Cantabria’s full range of capabilities, including the operating maintenance cycle of ships systems, and ship logistics and maintenance support.”
The modern Combat Logistic Support ship also consorted the workup of Australian and New Zealand warships preparing for operational deployment and conducted a first of class flight trial for MRH-90 to validate ship operating limits for the helicopter.
“While it is sad to say goodbye, my crew is looking forward to the return journey, that will see us visits ports in Indonesia, India and Turkey before arriving home just in time for Christmas,” said Commander Nieto.