German warship FGS Bayern arrived in Fremantle on September 28 for a week-long goodwill visit during her seven-month Indo-Pacific deployment.
CAPTION: German Navy warship FGS Bayern is welcomed into Fremantle. Story by Lieutenant Gary McHugh. Photo by Leading Seaman Ronnie Baltoft.
Germany last deployed warships to the Indo-Pacific region 20 years ago on a training voyage.
The last time a German Navy vessel visited Australia was in 1988, when sail training ship FGS Gorch Fock berthed in Sydney.
The Brandenburg-class frigate Bayern was welcomed to Australia by the Acting Mayor of Fremantle, Councillor Andrew Sullivan, German Ambassador to Australia, Dr Thomas Fitschen, the German Honorary Consul in Perth, Dr Gabriele Maluga, the German Defence Attaché, Lieutenant Colonel Alois Wagner, and Commanding Officer HMAS Stirling Captain Gary Lawton.
Captain Lawton said the Indo-Pacific region had increasingly become strategically important for Germany as well as the European Union.
“This visit is an opportunity to strengthen cooperation and understanding between our two navies,” Captain Lawton said.
“While the ship is alongside Fremantle, the ship’s company will participate in a number of cultural, social and official events, including hosting an official reception on board Bayern to celebrate the Day of German Unity on October 3.”
Commanding Officer Bayern Commander Tilo Kalski said his ship’s company was pleased to arrive in Australia and were looking forward to enjoying the sights of Fremantle and Perth.
“The ship’s company are all very excited to be here in Australia because, for most of us Europeans, this represents a once-in-a-lifetime trip,” Commander Kalski said.
“What makes it even more appealing is the fact that this is our first port of call since leaving Germany two months ago, where we can have actual shore leave.”
Commander Kalski said Bayern’s visit to Australia and joint training with the RAN were among the objectives of the German Navy’s Indo-Pacific deployment.
“Other key aspects are the various naval passing exercises we have conducted at sea, and will continue to conduct with a number of regional navies of the Indo-Pacific,” Commander Kalski added.
The ship’s visit is being conducted in accordance and full compliance with WA State Government COVID-19 protocols.
All required tests were conducted to ensure the ship was free of COVID-19 before crew members, who are fully vaccinated, were approved to leave the ship.
Bayern will remain in Fremantle until October 5.
CAPTION: Fremantle Ports workers heave in on a berthing line as the German Navy frigate FGS Bayern comes alongside in Western Australia during its Indo-Pacific deployment. Photo by Leading Seaman Ronnie Baltoft.