The Royal Australian Navy (RAN) has welcomed back two ships and more than 300 personnel to their home port of Fleet Base West, Rockingham, following a significant period of international engagements. Auxiliary oiler HMAS Stalwart returned to homeport after more than three months away, while frigate HMAS Anzac arrived later.
HMAS Stalwart conducted engagements with Japan, the United States, Timor-Leste, the Philippines, and Singapore as part of a Regional Presence Deployment and Indo-Pacific Endeavour 2022 (IPE22). HMA Ships Stalwart and Anzac were two of five ships part of the IPE22 contingent thatvisited 14 countries including Bangladesh, Brunei, Cambodia, India, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Maldives, the Philippines, Singapore, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Timor-Leste, and Vietnam.
HMAS Anzac Commanding Officer, Commander David McPherson, said IPE22 was crucial in deepening cooperation and enhancing relationships between Australia and our regional partners. “The crew enjoyed exercising and spending time with our regional partners in the Indo-Pacific,” McPherson said. “It’s difficult to beat the connections that are made through face-to-face engagement.”
The ships’ companies were looking forward to spending valuable time with their families over the Christmas period. HMAS Stalwart Commanding Officer, Commander Steve McCracken, said his crew were grateful to be on home soil. “This has been HMAS Stalwart’s first overseas deployment,” McCracken said. “The busy deployment has been packed with memorable experiences, such as replenishing the US forward-deployed aircraft carrier USS Ronald Reagan after taking part in Exercise Keen Sword with the US and Japan. Without support from home, our personnel would not have been able to do these deployments. Coming home to our loved ones is always special.”
The WA homecoming was part of a wider return of RAN ships to their homeports over the course of December. HMA Ships Arunta, Adelaide, Hobart, and Brisbane will return to Fleet Base East later this month. These deployments followed a period of high activity, including the RAN-hosted multinational maritime Exercise Kakadu off the coast of Darwin, NT, and prior to that, Exercise Rim of the Pacific 22 based out of Hawaii, USA.