China Welcomes HMAS Ballarat

China Welcomes HMAS Ballarat

Welcome to China’, that was the signalled greeting afforded to HMAS Ballarat (Commander Jonathan Earley) by warships of the PLA-N, as Ballarat carefully weaved her way through the busy nine hour pilotage that encompassed transits of the Yangtz and Huangpu Rivers into Shanghai on 17 May 12.

Escorted by the PLA-N frigate Anqing, Ballarat berthed adjacent the famous Bund district in the centre of Shanghai for a five day port visit. Set against a stunning cityscape featuring the famous Oriental Pearl Tower and Shanghai World Finance Tower skyscrapers, two large banners were unfurled on the port and starboard sides of the ship’s hangar to help mark the 40th anniversary of Australian and Chinese diplomatic relations.

At the welcome ceremony, resplendent with Guard and band, the Ballarat’s Commanding Officer thanked the senior PLA-N Representative CAPT Li Jun – Deputy Chief of Staff of the Shanghai Naval Garrison, for the warm welcome and spectacular berth afforded to the ship in the middle of Shanghai. CMDR Earley said:

“It is indeed an honour for us to be here this year, the year that marks the 40th anniversary of Australia-China diplomatic ties and what better way to herald this event than to be berthed in such a spectacular location.”

The port visit was a huge success with a multitude of official activities conducted between the PLA-N and Ballarat including: reciprocal ship visits, an official reception and banquet hosted by the Commander of the Shanghai Naval Garrison, a Cocktail Party onboard Ballarat jointly hosted with the Australian Ambassador to China and a friendly game of basketball.

The ship’s company thoroughly enjoyed interacting with their PLA-N counterparts, with all ranks doing their bit to help strengthen the relationship between the two Navies.

On completion of the port visit CMDR Earley thanked the PLA-N and the local Shanghai Government for a very successful and enjoyable visit. He said:

“We have thoroughly enjoyed our time in this amazing city and feel privileged to have helped mark the 40th anniversary of diplomatic relations between our two countries. Our relationship is an important one, and within the maritime domain as navies, we can help strengthen that bond through visits such as these both here and in Australia.”


Naval Today Staff , May 22, 2012; Image: Royal Australian Navy