Family tears as Darwin heads east
Some tears were shed in Sydney today as HMAS Darwin departed for a tour of duty in the Middle East.
HMAS Darwin Executive Officer Lieutenant Commander Tina Brown and her son Mason (main photo) met Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull and other dignitaries, including Chief of Navy Vice Admiral Tim Barrett at a farewell ceremony at Garden Island.
With a crew of 229 Royal Australian Navy personnel onboard HMAS Darwin, the docks were crowded with families and friends as the ship set sail for the Middle East region.
Commander Australian Fleet Rear Admiral Stuart Mayer spoke to the assembled crowd and noted that while most Australians were spending the festive season with their loved ones, Darwin was deploying on an important mission, conducting counter terrorism, counter piracy and narcotics interdiction operations on behalf of the Australian people.
“Under the leadership of Commander Philip Henry, Darwin will work with multi-national partners as part of Operation Manitou to encourage regional co-operation and to promote a safe maritime environment in the Middle East and Horn of Africa regions,” Rear Admiral Mayer said.
Darwin will operate as part of the multi-national Combined Maritime Forces, which includes approximately three dozen ships from 30 nations patrolling more than 2.5 million square miles of international waters.
“I thank the officers and sailors onboard for their work preparing for this deployment, which will help ensure global maritime security and keep trade routes safe for legitimate mariners,” Rear Admiral Mayer said.
Darwin’s deployment is the 62nd rotation of a Royal Australian Navy ship to the Middle East region since 1990 and the seventh by Darwin itself.
She will relieve sister-ship, HMAS Melbourne, on station who has already made four significant drug hauls during her tour.
An editorial observation on this story…
The PM’s Facebook page mentions Navy families first, as does the Royal Australian Navy’s Facebook page – but the official Defence press release begins… “Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull joined Chief of Navy, Vice Admiral Tim Barrett…”
Why is it so?