HMAS Melbourne has returned to her home port at Garden Island Sydney, after nearly six months of operations throughout the Pacific and North East Asian regions.
According to the Commanding Officer, Commander Marcus Buttler, the deployment was a great success as the ship fulfilled all of its assigned tasks and responsibilities.
“Ship’s Company were outstanding, and we wouldn’t have completed our mission without the hard work and dedication of the 220 men and women who make up the heart and soul of HMAS Melbourne,” CMDR Buttler said.
During the deployment, Melbourne participated in Indo-Pacific Endeavour 18, Exercises RIMPAC 18 and KAKADU 18; visited Fiji, Tonga, the United States, China, Korea, Japan and Vietnam; and travelled more than 33,000 nautical miles.
“It’s a great testament to the capability of this guided missile frigate that we were able to undertake such a wide range of tasks, in different maritime environments, and with many different navies,” said CMDR Buttler.
Eagerly waiting for the arrival of the ship was more than 300 family members and friends of Ship’s Company. They had learnt only a few days before that the ship would be returning to Fleet Base East two weeks earlier than originally planned.
Also present to welcome back the ship was Acting Fleet Commander, Commodore Chris Smith, who paid tribute to Melbourne’s significant contribution to increased RAN operations in the Asia Pacific region during 2018.
“Melbourne did an outstanding job in representing Navy in a wide range of operations, exercises and international engagements, which helped demonstrate the importance Australia places on being a partner of choice to our regional neighbours,” said CDRE Smith.
Early next year HMAS Melbourne will depart Fleet Base East for a new round of operations and exercises including Indo-Pacific Endeavour 19, before being decommissioned in September after 27 years faithful service to the Royal Australian Navy.