The Royal Australian Navy helicopter frigate HMAS Toowoomba has returned to Australia following a successful six-month deployment on Operation MANITOU. Minister for Defence Linda Reynolds praised the ship’s company, who conducted maritime security operations in the Straits of Hormuz with the International Maritime Security Construct.

Operations Officer HMAS Toowoomba, Lieutenant Commander Aaron Guest (right), briefs (L-R) Charge d’ Affairs Bahrain, Damian White, Commander Joint Task Force 633, Major General Susan Coyle, CSC, DSM, and Commanding Officer HMAS Toowoomba, Commander Mitchell Livingstone, CSC, RAN, in Toowoomba’s Operations Room during the ship’s visit to Bahrain as part of Operation Manitou. (PHOTO: RAN)

“HMAS Toowoomba can be proud of their achievements in reducing the risk of malign activity, and preventing the disruption of seaborne trade in the Middle East,” Reynolds said. “The crew has worked tirelessly and professionally to help legitimate mariners have unrestricted use of international waterways safely and with confidence. “The government remains committed to the multi-national effort to maintain security in the region as the Middle East maritime domain remains strategically important to Australia’s economic and trade interests.”

Lieutenant Maree Altham (left) and Lieutenant Shannen Rowe from HMAS Toowoomba conduct tests on a parcel discovered after boarding and searching a dhow in the Gulf of Aden. (PHOTO: RAN)

Commander of the Australian Fleet Rear Admiral Jonathan Mead paid tribute to the families of the ship’s company. “As well as the hard work and dedication from the ship’s company, we recognise the important role their families and friends played during this deployment,” Mead said. “Their support and steadfastness is integral, and allows those in uniform to achieve the mission.”

Operation MANITOU is Defence’s contribution to support international efforts that promote maritime security, stability and prosperity in the Middle East. HMAS Toowoomba shared the tasking with the Combined Maritime Force (CMF), conducting counter-narcotics operations as part of Task Force 150 and maritime security operations in the Straits of Hormuz with the International Maritime Security Construct. HMAS Toowoomba seized more than 3,000 kilograms of drugs during the deployment. Through CMF, Australia contributes to a multinational taskforce of 33 nations to maintain freedom of navigation, uphold international law, and promote regional stability and security of the maritime commons.

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