HMAS Darwin concludes first Middle East patrol

HMAS Darwin sailing into Muscat, Oman. Photo: Royal Australian Navy
HMAS Darwin sailing into Muscat, Oman. Photo: Royal Australian Navy

Royal Australian Navy’s Adelaide-class guided missile frigate HMAS Darwin has completed its first patrol in the Middle East region, arriving into the Port of Muscat, Oman.

The 23-day patrol within the Combined Maritime Forces will be the ship’s longest single stretch at sea during this deployment.

Darwin’s ship’s company conducted several boardings, with the highlight being the seizure of a large weapons cache earlier this month.

More than 2,000 weapons; including assault rifles, rocket propelled grenades and mortars were uncovered.

Commanding Officer, Commander Phillip Henry said the weapons interdiction represented a genuine victory for the ship and her crew: “The boarding sent morale through the roof and we were able to demonstrate that we’re out there doing something that is impacting lives in this region.”

Between boardings, the crew embraced critical training to maintain a high level of operational readiness.

Internal training aboard the ship included damage control scenarios, fast-roping from the ship’s helicopter, a S70B-2 Sea Hawk and gunnery training.

Darwin arrived into the port of Muscat, Oman, for rest and replenishment.

“Four weeks of solid operations is taxing on everyone so a port visit gives us the chance to reconstitute and provide our crew with some respite,” Commander Henry said.

HMAS Darwin is operating as part of the multinational Combined Maritime Forces, predominately tasked to support Combined Task Force 150 for maritime security and counter-terrorism operations and Combined Task Force 151 for counter-piracy operations.

Including this rotation, HMAS Darwin has deployed to the Middle East region seven times between 1990 and 2016 as part of operations Damask, Slipper and Manitou.