Thailand: HMAS Ballarat, HMAS Parramatta Arrive in Sattahip
HMAS Ballarat (Commander Guy Blackburn, RAN) and HMAS Parramatta (Commander Heath Robertson, RAN) recently arrived in Sattahip, Thailand to conduct a port visit for the start of AUSTHAI 2011. A combined squad of fifty Ballarat and Parramatta personnel were officially greeted at the opening ceremony by Rear Admiral Duesdee Sangkhapreecha and DGMAROPS – Commodore Philip Spedding, DSC, AM, RAN.
Exercise AUSTHAI 11 is a combined biennial exercise between the Royal Thai Navy (RTN) and the Royal Australian Navy (RAN) which aims to improve interoperability and enhance proficiency in maritime war-fighting skills. AUSTHAI 11 will be conducted in Sattahip Naval Base, Thailand and the Gulf of Thailand from 26 May – 01 June 2011.
HMA Ships Parramatta and Ballarat, two Royal Australian Navy Anzac Class Frigates, will operate in the maritime exercise AUSTHAI 11 with two Thai ships HTMS Phutta Loetla Naphalai, a missile frigate, and HTMS Rattanakosin, a missile corvette.
AUSTHAI 11 will strengthen Navy’s capability and the skills of sailors and officers while promoting a shared understanding of how Australia and Thailand can work together in a regional environment
An official function was held on Ballarat’s flight deck on Friday 27 May 11 which was attended by various officials from the Royal Thai Navy (RTN), members of the MACT and Embassy defence staff as well as Embassy based staff and members of AUSCHAM. The evening was a success and ended with a Ceremonial Sunset.
In a less formal setting, Ballarat and Parramatta were challenged to a round robin soccer match in Sattahip by RTN personnel on the afternoon of Friday the 27th of May. Ballarat played two 15 minute halves against Parramatta and went down 0-2. The two RTN teams played each other with the winning team playing Parramatta in the final round. Parramatta came out on top with a goal in the first minute and another in the last; result 2-0.
Members of Ballarat’s ships company enjoyed the weekend absorbing the best of Thai culture and cuisine that Pattaya had to offer. A regular bus routine ensured that all members were able to get into Pattaya and return onboard with minimal fuss. Whilst in Pattaya various venues were keenly attended, such as, Under Water World, Muay Thai kickboxing, the Tiger zoo, Go Karting, traditional displays of Thai Culture and Elephant rides. Of course no visit to Pattaya would be complete without a visit to Walking Street and there were plenty of bargains to be had from the various stalls at the evening street markets.
Source: navy, June 6, 2011;