HMAS Melbourne Departs Middle East Area of Operations

HMAS Melbourne Departs Middle East Area of Operations

HMAS Melbourne has departed the Middle East Area of Operations after a successful six-month deployment as part of Operation SLIPPER.

Melbourne heads home to Fleet Base East in Sydney, NSW, after conducting maritime security patrols, counter-piracy and anti-smuggling operations from the Red and Arabian Seas to the Gulfs of Aden, Oman, Aqaba and the Straits of Hormuz and Bab-Al-Mandeb.

HMAS Melbourne also provided maritime security and executed counter-terrorism activities around the Horn of Africa in support of the regional 26 member nation Combined Maritime Forces (CMF).

Commanding Officer of HMAS Melbourne, Commander Richard Boulton, said Melbourne’s crew have done themselves, the Navy and Australia proud.

The men and women of Melbourne have given the mission everything they’ve got,” Commander Boulton said.

Their performance has earned Melbourne an outstanding reputation in the region and the coalition nations working as part of the Combined Maritime Forces.

“We also had the honour of embarking three sailors from the New Zealand Navy for the deployment.”

“It is certain to be both a proud and emotional homecoming as the ship’s company lines the upper decks when we sail into Sydney Harbour and reunite with loved ones,” Commander Boulton said.

HMAS Melbourne is the Royal Australian Navy’s 28th ship to patrol the region since 2001.

Commander Joint Task Force 633, in the Middle East Area of Operations, Major General Stuart Smith, praised HMAS Melbourne on a successful mission.

“HMAS Melbourne has had a crucial role in minimising harmful activity in the Middle East maritime environment; ultimately interrupting criminal support to terrorist organisations and violent extremists further a field, in places such as Afghanistan.”

“She has also provided freedom, security and profitability for legitimate mariners who rely on either transiting through or making a living off the sea lanes,” General Smith said.

HMAS Melbourne and her 230 personnel will return to Fleet Base East in late August where the crew will enjoy some well-earned leave and respite.

HMAS Anzac takes over security operations from Melbourne as part of Operation SLIPPER in the Combined Maritime Forces today.

Naval Today Staff, August 1, 2012; Image:  Australian Navy