HMA Ships Sirius and Arunta recently had a busy but enjoyable visit to Subic Bay which culminated in a successful passage exercise with Philippine Navy Ship Ramon Alcarez.
The visit highlighted the friendship which exists between the two navies and included official interactions such as a Commanding Officer’s luncheon onboard Sirius, an official reception onboard Arunta, reciprocal ships tours and a sports day. In their off duty time, both crews also found time to explore the local activities on offer including harbour cruises, golf, wreck diving, swimming with dolphins and baby tiger feeding at the local zoo.
Shortly after sailing it was back to work in order to be ready for the passage exercise, which proved to be exciting and rewarding for all crews, with some very slick manoeuvring and well executed formations making the morning a busy but productive one.
The exercise was capped off with a special ceremonial manoeuvre called ‘Formation Foxtrot’. Several dozen Filipino sailors lined the upper deck of their ship at attention as the ships parted company.
Sirius Officer of the Watch, Lieutenant Sonia Clark, said that her ship had a slightly different role than normal.
"Sirius is usually the guide ship and we rarely get to manoeuvre around others, but this time I got to pull in astern as the final ship in column," she said.
"It’s a moment I will remember, as it is usually others who conduct the approach on Sirius.”
The professionalism of the Philippine Navy made the evolution a success despite having never worked with the Australian ships on such a close level previously.
Increasingly difficult formations were executed successfully due to highly skilled and professional work by all three ships.
Able Seaman Communication and Information Systems Bonnie Foster said the interactions with Ramon Alcarez were "something very special".
"I enjoyed the great display of skill and ceremony and I felt very proud to have visited such a beautiful place and be part of that exchange of goodwill," Able Seaman Foster said.
Shortly after waving goodbye to PNS Ramon Alcarez both Sirius and Arunta shaped course for the next leg of their respective North East Asian Deployments. Sirius will be conducting a short maintenance period in Singapore whereas Arunta will visit Japan.