Australia-Malaysia exercises strengthen relationship

Published on LEUT Tanalee Smith (author), LSIS Tara Byrne (photographer)

Topic(s): HMAS Stuart (F153), HMAS Sirius (A266), Replenishment at Sea (RAS)

HMAS Sirius conducts a dual Replenishment at Sea with Malaysian ships KD Lekiu and KD Kelantan during Exercise MASTEX 19 during their East Asia Deployment. (photo: LSIS Tara Byrne)
HMAS Sirius conducts a dual Replenishment at Sea with Malaysian ships KD Lekiu and KD Kelantan during Exercise MASTEX 19 during their East Asia Deployment.

HMAS Sirius conducts a dual Replenishment at Sea with KD Lekiu and KD Kelantan as seen from HMAS Stuart, during Exercise MASTEX 19.

HMAS Sirius conducts a dual Replenishment at Sea with KD Lekiu and KD Kelantan as seen from HMAS Stuart, during Exercise MASTEX 19.

Storm clouds gathered over the high seas but spirits were high as two Royal Malaysian Navy ships approached HMAS Sirius for a dual Replenishment at Sea (RAS) during Exercise MASTEX 19 between the regional partners.

The RAS was one of several events that took place during the two-day sea phase of the week-long bilateral engagement, in which Sirius and HMAS Stuart were joined by Royal Malaysian Navy ships KD Lekiu and KD Kelantan.

Royal Malaysian Navy Warrant Officer Mohammad Isa Sulai, who took part in a boarding party exercise in Sirius as the storm gathered, said there were some helpful takeaways from the experience.

“Our two navies had a different style in this situation, but I did see some things the Australians did that I will take back and make suggestions to my command.”

“It was a good way to learn from each other and I thank the Australians for sharing with us,” Warrant Officer Sulai said.

Although some planned events were cancelled due to weather, Commander Luke Ryan, commanding officer of Stuart, said MASTEX 19 was rewarding and beneficial.

“We worked closely with the Malaysians in the planning phase and we were all pleased with this opportunity to build on our important bilateral relationship.

“The close cooperation between the RAN and RMN demonstrated our shared commitment to encouraging stability within the region, supporting a rules based global order.” Commander Ryan said.

Lieutenant Adrian Weatherby-Fell, a Maritime Warfare Officer on Stuart, spent two days as a sea rider on Lekiu.

“There are more similarities than differences between our two navies, and being on their bridge was comfortable and familiar.

“Working with each other can only make us a stronger team for the region,” Lieutenant Weatherby-Fell said.

Stuart and Sirius are part of two task groups of 11 ships and more than 1000 personnel visiting regional partners in North and South East Asia for multinational exercises and regional engagement activities.

Imagery is available on the Navy Image Gallery: https://images.navy.gov.au/S20192895.