HMAS Arunta is on her way home after completing her deployment on Operation Argos – Australia’s contribution to the enforcement of United Nations’ Security Council sanctions on North Korea.
CAPTION: Leading Seaman Aircrewman Brad Firkin collects information on a vessel of interest from HMAS Arunta’s MH-60R Seahawk helicopter during Operation Argos. Photo by Leading Seaman Jarrod Mulvihill.
The operation supports international efforts to monitor and deter illegal shipments of sanctioned goods, including North Korean refined petroleum imports and coal exports.
This was was the last major commitment for Arunta in her six-week regional deployment.
Commanding Officer Arunta Commander Troy Duggan said the frigate detected and recorded a number of suspicious ship-to-ship transfers and vessels of interest during the operation.
“The operation produced plenty of results, both in terms of actual transfers witnessed and the collection of the details of several vessels of interest,” Commander Duggan said.
“Gathering information, such as the names of vessels, their countries of registration and other characteristics, is important for further investigations by the United Nations and for building a pattern-of-life picture for this region..
“Furthermore, Arunta’s presence served as a further deterrent to those people behind the illegal activities taking place in this region.”
A vital part of Arunta’s ability to track and record vessels of interest and suspicious transfers was the ship’s MH-60R Seahawk helicopter.
Flight Commander Lieutenant Commander Ben Hammond said the aircraft’s daily sorties significantly extended the range of the ship.
“The range and reliability of this aircraft provided command with clear and concise knowledge of the area of operation at long range,” Lieutenant Commander Hammond said.
“Essentially, it meant the ship could be directed to vessels of interest in what is a large and extremely congested area of ocean.”
After completing her deployment on Operation Argos, Arunta conducted a two-day logistics’ visit to Sasebo Naval Base, Japan, before sailing in company with Japanese Ship Shimakaze.
The two ships carried out a passage exercise off the coast of Japan before parting company.
HMAS Arunta is scheduled to arrive at Fleet Base West, Western Australia, later this month.