HMAS Darwin sails one last time from Fleet Base West

Royal Australian Navy’s oldest warship HMAS Darwin departed Fleet Base West after what will probably be the frigate’s final visit before being decommissioned later this year.

HMAS Darwin slipped from the wharf at Fleet Base West and set sail for Sydney recently, signalling the end of the warship’s long association with the west coast of Australia.

The Adelaide-class frigate called Western Australia home for almost 13 years from 18 December 1993, before being relocated to Fleet Base East on 21 April 2006.

Darwin’s Maritime Logistics Officer, Lieutenant Commander Chris Duke, served aboard the warship during the change of home port and the final visit to Fleet Base West.

“This is the third time I have been posted to Darwin. In 1993 I was an Able Seaman Writer, conducting personnel management and administration functions,” he said.

“I returned to Darwin from 2010 to 2011 as Deputy Supply Officer and now I am the Maritime Logistics Officer, ensuring the ship is well supplied.”

While home ported at Fleet Base West, Darwin deployed to the Middle East twice and border protection duties four times as part of operation Relex.

Relex was the name of Australian Defence Force border protection operations in the country’s northern approaches conducted between 2001 and 2006.

Darwin will decommission in December. Until another ship bearing the name Darwin commissions, it was most likely the last time the west will see Darwin.

Darwin had been in Western Australia to conduct exercise Ocean Explorer, a multinational exercise designed to train the fleet in high end warfighting.

Three new destroyers will replace the Adelaide-class frigates.