Japanese Defense Ship Kirisame arrived at Fleet Base West on 24 October ahead of her participation in the Albany Convoy Commemorative Event.
At over 4,000 tonnes the modern Murasame destroyer is based in Sasebo in Nagasaki and has made the passage from Singapore to Australia following a port visit.
The 165 crew spent a few days sightseeing in and around Perth between official calls and a much-anticipated softball match with the chefs of HMAS Stirling.
Commanding Officer of HMAS Stirling Commanding Officer, Captain Angela Bond, said the crew were very excited to be alongside, meanwhile the chefs of HMAS Stirling were preparing for their softball match against the Japanese team.
“The Commanding Officer conveyed to me that the crew were very much looking forward to a much needed break whilst enjoying the hospitality of Western Australia. They planned a few trips including to the Pinnacles, Swan Valley and Wave Rock; all must-see tourist spots in the state.
“It would seem the ship’s company of Kirisame take their softball very seriously and as a sport we don’t play regularly here at Stirling I think there are a few nervous sailors; however it’s all about the team-work and friendly rivalry with our international guests,” Captain Bond said.
The ship is here in Australia to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the departure of the first convoy of ships carrying the Australian Imperial Force (AIF) and the New Zealand Expeditionary Force (NZEF) to the First World War in Albany, Western Australia and acknowledge the Japanese involvement in that departure.
On 1 November 1914, a 36-ship convoy sailed with three cruiser escorts HMS Minotaur and HMA Ships Melbourne and Sydney. Two days later they rendezvoused with the Japanese cruiser Ibuki and two other troop ships making it a total number of 42 ships sailing in company enroute to the training grounds and battle fields of World War One.
The Albany Convoy Commemorative Event, over 31 October-2 November, is the first Australian-based major event in the Centenary of Anzac program.
Kirisame, meaning fog is the first ship in the Japanese fleet to bear the name, a great source of pride for her Commanding Officer and ship’s company. Kirisame will depart Fleet Base West with HMAS Stuart enroute to Albany.