HMAS Sirius Shows Off at Sail Morotai 2012
HMAS Sirius showed off her might in the recent ‘Sail Morotai’ deployment which, after a successful departure from Exercise KAKADU 2012, saw her transit from Darwin to the small island of Morotai, Indonesia.
Located in the North Maluku Province, Morotai is Indonesia’s northernmost island and home to a small population who, until now, were isolated from the Indonesian tourism industry.
Now in its 12th year, ‘Sail Indonesia’ is an initiative started by the Indonesian Government to increase tourism, investment and infrastructure construction throughout the area. Traditionally, Sail Indonesia’s yachts begin their voyage in Darwin, NT and navigate through the Indonesian Archipelago to a chosen destination. Sail Morotai saw skippers from Australia, New Zealand, USA, UK, Sweden, France, Germany, Italy and Switzerland pass through one of two routes arriving in Morotai on 15 September 2012.
Sirius was at anchor and staged the backdrop to the main event which was opened by the Indonesian President, Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono. Approximately 5,000 guests, including foreign sailors, were expected to attended the international sailing event which began with the sail past of Warships from Indonesia, Singapore and the United States Navy.
Prior to proceeding to anchor Sirius’ Ship’s Company proceeded ashore to experience the cultural banquet that is Morotai. They were greeted by locals in a somewhat celebrity reception. The Naval Attaché Jakarta, supported by the Ship’s Company, donated education resources and sporting equipment to local schools. The crew of Sirius also raised the money to send two Morotai children to school for one year.
At anchor Sirius Ship’s Company Manned Ship and cheered for Indonesia as the first Indonesian Warship passed. The Australian Naval Attaché Jakarta, CAPT K. Bizilj, RAN reported that the Indonesian President was very pleased and grateful of Sirius’ participation.
Morotai is known for its involvement in WWII being occupied by both Allied and Enemy forces. It is in Morotai where General MacArthur extended his sphere of control for his campaign in the Pacific. HMA Ships Manoora (I), Kanimbla (I)and Westralia (I), all former merchant cruisers, were converted to Landing Ships Infantry and took part in the amphibious operations which brought the Allies closer to the Philippines.
15th September 2012, the day of the sail past, marked the 68th anniversary of the landings. It is safe to assume that warships present at Sail Morotai 2012 may well have been the largest naval show since 1944.
Naval Today Staff, September 19, 2012; Image: Morotai Indonesia