Australia — HMAS Melbourne’s final anti-piracy act

On her final day assigned to oper­a­tions in the Mid­dle East, Roy­al Aus­tralian Navy frigate HMAS Mel­bourne con­tin­ued her impor­tant work of secur­ing vital sea lanes of com­mu­ni­ca­tion.
Hours before hand­ing over the mar­itime secu­ri­ty task in the Mid­dle East Area of Oper­a­tions to HMAS Stu­art, HMAS Mel­bourne was called upon to assist a mer­chant ves­sel in dis­tress.

On Tues­day, MV Tide report­ed that she was being harassed by a pirate moth­er­ship and two skiffs. The mer­chant ves­sel request­ed imme­di­ate assis­tance.

HMAS Mel­bourne respond­ed and altered her course to steam to the aid of MV Tide, simul­ta­ne­ous­ly send­ing her Sea Hawk heli­copter ahead to inves­ti­gate the sit­u­a­tion.

For­tu­nate­ly, MV Tide was able to con­duct eva­sive manoeu­vres and escape the pirates with­in about an hour of her ini­tial dis­tress call. The mer­chant vessel’s actions suc­cess­ful­ly negat­ed the pirate attack, allow­ing HMAS Mel­bourne and her heli­copter to return to patrolling duties with­out fur­ther inci­dent for her last few hours serv­ing in sup­port of Oper­a­tion SLIPPER.

HMAS Mel­bourne has suc­cess­ful­ly com­plet­ed a six-month oper­a­tional deploy­ment to the Mid­dle East marked by involve­ment in mar­itime secu­ri­ty and counter-pira­cy oper­a­tions, and inter­na­tion­al engage­ment with coun­tries such as Yemen, Jor­dan and Pak­istan.

HMAS Mel­bourne was the first of the recent­ly upgrad­ed Ade­laide Class frigates to under­take an oper­a­tional deploy­ment and was relieved by HMAS Stu­art in a hand-over cer­e­mo­ny on 19 Jan­u­ary 2011.

HMAS Mel­bourne had 238 men and women embarked for the deploy­ment.

Com­mand­ing Offi­cer HMAS Mel­bourne Com­man­der Michael Har­ris said the ship’s com­pa­ny had per­formed excep­tion­al­ly well dur­ing the deploy­ment and were employed in a range of tasks that includ­ed mar­itime secu­ri­ty and counter-pira­cy as part of com­bined mar­itime force oper­a­tions.

HMAS Melbourne’s sup­port in dis­rupt­ing an ear­li­er pirate attack on the MV CPO Chi­na received wide­spread recog­ni­tion and praise.

Com­man­der Aus­tralian forces in the Mid­dle East Major Gen­er­al Angus Camp­bell said the crew and Com­man­der of HMAS Mel­bourne should take pride in direct­ly con­tribut­ing to secu­ri­ty in the Mid­dle East and the safe pas­sage of mar­itime trade in the Indi­an Ocean.

“You have very pos­i­tive­ly enhanced Australia’s rep­u­ta­tion in the region. As HMAS Mel­bourne heads home for a well-earned rest, know that you have direct­ly con­tributed to the mis­sion in the Mid­dle East and have made a pos­i­tive impres­sion on its peo­ple. Thank you for your efforts,” Major Gen­er­al Camp­bell said.

HMAS Mel­bourne was the 24th rota­tion of RAN fleet units to the region since oper­a­tions com­menced in the Mid­dle East in 2001.

HMAS Stu­art will be con­duct­ing her fourth rota­tion to the Gulf since oper­a­tions began. The ship has a com­ple­ment of approx­i­mate­ly 190 men and women.

Press release
Min­is­te­r­i­al Sup­port and Pub­lic Affairs,
Depart­ment of Defence,
Can­ber­ra, Aus­tralia

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