HMAS Darwin concludes first patrol

The Department of Defence has announced that HMAS Darwin has completed a successful first patrol in the Middle East region, arriving into the Port of Muscat, Oman on 14 March 2016.

The patrol lasted 23 days and will be the ship’s longest single stretch at sea during this deployment.

During the patrol, the 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 (CMDR) 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,” he said.

Between boardings, the ship’s crew embraced critical training to ensure a high level of operational readiness is maintained.

Internal training aboard the ship included damage control scenarios, fast-roping from the ship’s helicopter, a S70B-2 Sea Hawk and gunnery training. The ship’s ongoing critical training exercises ensure a high level of operational readiness.

Executive Officer, Lieutenant Commander (LCDR) Tina Brown praised the ship’s crew for their hard work and exemplary performance during the first patrol.

“The ship’s crew is definitely our strongest capability onboard” she said.

“Morale is high and each individual is a key factor of the larger team of Darwin and we take the opportunity to regularly recognise members’ outstanding achievements.”

Members of the ship’s company were awarded with Commanding Officer Commendations, three sailors were promoted and Bravo Zulu awards were presented.

Bravo Zulu or BZ is a Navy signal meaning “well done”.

At the conclusion of the first patrol, Darwin arrived into the port of Muscat, Oman, for rest and replenishment. The port visit provides the crew with the opportunity for respite after a high-tempo period, before tackling another stint at sea.

CMDR Henry said “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.”

Operation Manitou is the Australian Defence Force’s contribution to international efforts in promoting maritime security, stability and prosperity in the Middle East region.

Darwin is predominately tasked to support Combined Task Force (CTF) 150 for maritime security and counter-terrorism operations and Combined Task Force 151 for counter-piracy operations.

This is Darwin’s seventh deployment to the Middle East Region and is the 62nd rotation of a Royal Australian Navy vessel in the region since 1990.

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