HMAS Toowoomba handed over maritime security duties to HMAS Parramatta in the Middle East this week after completing a successful six-month deployment as part of Operation SLIPPER.
HMAS Toowoomba is now heading home to Fleet Base West in Rockingham, Western Australia, after travelling more than 35,000 nautical miles during her second deployment to the Middle East Area of Operations (MEAO).
Commanding Officer Commander Andrew Quinn said Toowoomba’s Ship’s Company had performed admirably over the course of the deployment.
“I am extremely proud of the way my Ship’s Company has worked diligently over the past six months as the ship carried out counter-terrorism activities in the Middle East maritime environment and counter-piracy duties in the Gulf of Aden,” Commander Quinn said.
HMAS Toowoomba has been replaced by HMAS Parramatta, which commenced security operations on 18 October 2011. HMAS Parramatta’s rotation is the 27th by a RAN ship to the MEAO since 2001.
During the past six months, HMAS Toowoomba conducted multiple boardings and helped numerous vessels requiring medical or engineering assistance.
Commander Quinn said the past six months had been a challenging period for his crew but they should all be proud of the way they conducted themselves and carried out their duties.
“The MEAO can be a very demanding and volatile environment in which to operate, and I am pleased to say that Toowoomba’s crew rose to every challenge in a professional and committed fashion, maintaining Australia’s highly respected position as a coalition partner.
“I would also like to acknowledge the support of family and friends back home – it certainly helps and boosts morale to know that our loved ones in Australia are supporting us while we are deployed.”
Between operational commitments, Toowoomba’s Ship’s Company raised more than $2000 for BeyondBlue and more than $3000 for the Toowoomba Flexi School by completing a 24-hour marathon and holding a fete during the ship’s birthday on 6 October.
HMAS Toowoomba and her Ship’s Company of approximately 190 personnel are scheduled to arrive at Fleet Base West on 7 November, 2011.
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