HMAS Melbourne Hands Over Drug-Busting Duties in MEAO to Darwin

HMAS Melbourne, Darwin Exchange Duties
HMAS Melbourne, Darwin Exchange Duties

The Royal Australian Navy frigate HMAS Melbourne has ended a highly successful deployment to the Middle East, handing over to HMAS Darwin responsibility for security operations for Operation SLIPPER.


During her five months on station, HMAS Melbourne carried out multiple operations, seizing narcotics with an estimated Australian street value of $1.214 billion, the largest being $706 million dollars worth of heroin located and removed from a dhow off the coast of Tanzania.

Since arriving in the region on 23 September 2013, Melbourne has conducted counter-terrorism, counter-piracy and anti-smuggling operations as part of the 30 member-nation Combined Maritime Forces (CMF).


HMAS Melbourne’s Commanding Officer, Commander Brian Schlegel, says Australians will be rightly proud of what his crew has achieved.

“The ship’s achievements during this deployment are a direct reflection of the professionalism and dedication of the crew,” Commander Schlegel said.

Commander of Australian military forces in the Middle East, Major General Craig Orme, said the Royal Australian Navy’s involvement in Operation SLIPPER continued to be essential to Australia’s overall objectives and success in the Middle East.

“HMAS Melbourne’s contribution over the course of its deployment, including her latest drug seizures, highlights the importance of maintaining a maritime commitment in the region,” Major General Orme said.

HMAS Melbourne steamed over 32,000 nautical miles, encompassing 67 Approach and Assists, 13 Flag verification boardings, 14 Replenishments at Sea (RAS), 1 Approach and Assist boarding and visited 9 ports around Africa and the Middle East.

HMAS Melbourne arrived at the port of Colombo on 21st February 2014 on a goodwill visit, where it will engage in various trainings and activities with the Sri Lanka Navy.

HMAS Melbourne (III) and HMAS Darwin are Adelaide Class Guided Missile Frigates (FFG).

Length 138 m
Beam 14.3m
Draught 7.5m
Displacement 4,200 tons
Speed over 30 knots
Complement 184 + aircrew
Range 4,500 nautical miles
Status Active

Press Release, February 24, 2014, Image: Australian Navy

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