The barriers have been removed, the fleet has departed, and 800 uniformed personnel have returned to their units following the Centenary of Anzac commemorations in Albany.
At the Albany Leisure Centre the stretchers were packed up and the sleeping bags rolled. The New Zealand Defence Force Maori Cultural Group farewelled Bungaree, the Royal Australian Navy's Indigenous Performance Group, with two groups having performed at various events over the weekend to much praise from locals.
And at the wharf, the marquees came down and routine alarm systems tests rang out from ship speakers as HMA Ships Sirius, Anzac and Arunta, HMNZS Te Kaha and JDS Kirisame prepared to depart.
The ships are sailing to participate in Exercise Distant Shores, an Anti-Submarine Warfare exercise, taking place in the waters off Albany. The frigates are tasked with the role of protecting HMAS Sirius, a high value unit as she departs from the port. HMAS Rankin sailed yesterday in preparation.
The environmental conditions and the number of international exercise participants will provide a rare training opportunity said Commanding Officer HMAS Arunta, Commander Dave Tietzel.
“The harbour here has the right water conditions and underwater trenches and channels so it is a great place for anti-submarine warfare,” Commander Tietzel said.
“We are taking the opportunity whilst our New Zealand and Japanese friends are here to build on our interoperability and practise a multi-layered, graduated training activity,” he said.
“The submarine will try and blockade the harbour as the ships leave. The submarine will compile her warfare picture as large number of ships depart the harbour and try and identify and target the high value target - HMAS Sirius in order to isolate her. Our role is to screen Sirius and attempt to locate the submarine, working in concert assisted by air units,” Commander Tietzel said.
Over the next few days the complexity of the exercise will begin to increase.
“Once we exit the harbour we will commence tracking exercises and then over the course of the four days we will escalate the complexity of the warfare picture introducing aircraft and ships conducting close-in anti submarine warfare with the four days culminating in a tactical replenishment at sea, protecting the high value unit during the conduct of a replenishment,” Commander Tietzel said.
Imagery is available on the Navy Image Library at http://images.navy.gov.au/ACCE14-0022.