Royal Australian Navy’s Anzac-class frigate HMAS Toowoomba today departed her homeport of Fleet Base West in Rockingham, Western Australia, for a six-month deployment to the Middle East.
CAPTION: Officers and sailors on HMAS Toowoomba line the upper decks as to farewell family, friends and colleagues as the ship departs for Operation Manitou from Fleet Base West, Western Australia. Photo by Leading Seaman Ronnie Baltoft.
This is the 68th rotation of a Royal Australian Navy ship to the region since 1990 and the sixth for HMAS Toowoomba.
This deployment is part of the Australian Defence Force’s contribution to promote maritime security and stability – Operation Manitou.
Attending the farewell, Minister for Defence Linda Reynolds said Toowoomba and its crew of 190 officers and sailors would support Australia’s safe and open access to the region, and reaffirm Australia’s commitment to freedom of navigation.
“This highly capable vessel will focus on promoting maritime security, stability and prosperity in the Middle East by supporting counter‑terrorism, preventing piracy, and [enhancing] freedom of navigation,” Minister Reynolds said.
“The importance of this deployment [for] the Middle East and the Indian Ocean Region cannot be overstated, and is essential to the security of our nation and our economy.”
Chief of Navy Vice Admiral Michael Noonan said Toowoomba’s crew were ready for the mission following 12 months of preparations.
“Commander Mitchell Livingstone and his ship’s company have worked tirelessly to prepare for this deployment, and will form an integral part of the multi-national CMF,” he said.
Vice Admiral Noonan also paid tribute to the families of Toowoomba’s ship’s company whose support was also significant to the deployment.
“We ask a lot of the men and women of Toowoomba who leave their families and friends for this deployment, but we also ask as much from those they leave behind,” Vice Admiral Noonan said.
This deployment is the 68th rotation of a Royal Australian Navy ship to the Gulf region.
HMAS Toowoomba is scheduled to return to Fleet Base West in July 2020.