HMAS Larrakia recently departed the Vietnamese port of Ho Chi Minh City, after a successful four-day visit that included a mixture of official receptions, a sporting engagement and shore leave for the 34 members of ship's company.
The port visit, which coincided with a visit to Vietnam by Chief of Navy, Vice Admiral Tim Barrett, was part of Larrakia’s six-week South East Asian deployment.
The Vietnam People's Navy (VPN) pulled out all the stops for the visit by organising a number of elaborate receptions over the four days, including an official engagement between Vice Admiral Barrett and his Vietnamese counterpart Admiral Nguyen Van Hien.
HMAS Larrakia is currently crewed by 'Attack Four' and Commanding Officer Lieutenant Commander David McPherson said he was grateful for the way in which their hosts had made everyone feel so welcome during their stay.
“From the moment we came alongside to the moment we slipped lines, the Vietnamese Navy were the ultimate hosts,” he said.
“Chief of Navy and I met with a number of senior government and military officials during our time in Vietnam, and I believe these discussions have strengthened the ties that exist between our two countries.”
The Royal Australian Navy has a developing relationship with their Vietnamese counterparts which has recently involved Vietnamese members travelling to Jervis Bay for maritime security exercises.
On the third day of Larrakia’s visit, a team from the ship’s company, including special guest Vice Admiral Barrett, took on the VPN Technical College in a friendly game of volleyball - the result of which was too close to call.
After the game, Vice Admiral Barrett returned to the ship to meet with the Australian crew.
Lieutenant Commander McPherson said the visit was an excellent opportunity for Larrakia’s ships company to interact with the Chief of Navy.
“I believe the crew really appreciated the opportunity to spend some quality time with Vice Admiral Barrett, it was a valuable opportunity to show him the capabilities of our ship and crew,” he said.
Larrakia is the first Armidale Class Patrol Boat to visit Vietnam, and the 14th Royal Australian Navy ship to visit, with the last being frigate HMAS Sydney in 2012.
During her current deployment, Larrakia will also take part in Exercise LUMBAS 14, and the 70th commemorations of the Battle of Leyte Gulf.