Royal Australian Navy helicopter frigate HMAS Parramatta has returned to Australia after completing a three-month deployment, which included South and South East Asia and the South China Sea.
CAPTION: Royal Australian Navy frigate HMAS Parramatta (left) conducts officer-of-the-watch manoeuvres with amphibious assault ship USS America, guided-missile cruiser USS Bunker Hill and guided-missile destroyer USS Barry in the South China Sea. Photo by USS America crew member.
In late February and early March, before COVID-19 restrictions, HMAS Parramatta visited Phuket in Thailand and Colombo in Sri Lanka.
In April, she exercised with the United States Navy’s USS America Expeditionary Strike Group in the South China Sea.
Minister for Defence Linda Reynolds said the deployment showed Australia’s strong commitment to Australia’s partners and to a secure and prosperous region.
“Defence has, for decades, maintained a robust program of engagement with countries in and around the region, and will continue to do so,” Minister Reynolds said.
“Our Navy personnel take every opportunity to engage and exercise with allies and partners at sea.
“Interactions between partner navies enhance our interoperability, strengthen practical cooperation on maritime security and play an important role in supporting the stability and security of our region.
Commanding Officer HMAS Parramatta Commander Anita Nemarich said the opportunity to work alongside US naval vessels in the South China Sea last month was invaluable.
“Maintaining security and safety at sea requires navies to be able to cooperate seamlessly,” Commander Nemarich said.
“The combined activity between our two navies demonstrated our capability and a high degree of interoperability.”
Defence said that Navy was adhering to guidelines from the Department of Health in relation to COVID-19, but didn’t clarify if that meant the crew of HMAS Parramatta would be required to isolate for 14 days on return to Australia – or whether their recent at-sea-only activities were isolation enough.
HMAS Parramatta departed its home port of Sydney on 3 February 2020 and pulled in to Darwin yesterday, 1 May.
Defence did not say when she would depart Darwin for Sydney.