Sydney Harbour was alive with Navy activity on November 15 to farewell HMAS Sirius ahead of the ship’s decommissioning in December.
CAPTION: HMAS Sirius sails its final lap of Sydney Harbour during its a final visit to the city during its decommissioning voyage. Story by Lieutenant Jessica Craig. Photo Petty Officer Justin Brown.
Sirius is on a decommissioning voyage around Australia, with her 75-strong ship’s company stopping at key ports to pay tribute to the oiler’s 15-year legacy.
On her final visit to Sydney Harbour, Sirius was saluted by Defence personnel at HMAS establishments Watson, Kuttabul and Penguin, and on board HMA Ships Supply, Sydney, Parramatta, Choules and Arunta. An MH-60R from 816SQN also joined the occasion on behalf of the Fleet Air Arm, flying the Australian White Ensign.
Commanding Officer Sirius Commander Christopher Doherty said it was an honour to receive such a momentous farewell from the east-based fleet.
“Today demonstrates how the Australian Navy values and supports its own,” CMDR Doherty said.
“To see so many of our colleagues turn out to farewell us was a moment I am sure none of the crew will forget.”
During the lap, Sirius rendezvoused with Navy’s new Supply-class auxiliary oiler replenishment ship, HMAS Supply, as she sailed past Fleet Base East during an unofficial but spectacular handover of the lead logistics fleet unit role.
“HMAS Sirius’s decommissioning will be the end of an era, and signify the official handover of replenishment capability to the Supply-class auxiliary oiler replenishment vessels, HMA Ships Supply and Stalwart,” CMDR Doherty said.
“I have no doubt that they will serve our fleet and the region just as astutely and proudly as the crews of HMAS Siriushave.”
NSW Governor-General Margaret Beazley, Commander of the Australian Fleet Rear Admiral Mark Hammond and past Sirius crew members joined in the event at the Navy Heritage Centre.
Commodore Darren Grogan, who served in Sirius as commanding officer from 2013-2015 said it was a privilege to farewell the west-based ship, noting current restrictions precluded many from travelling to Western Australia for the official decommissioning.
“Unfortunately, due to border closures, a lot of us can’t get to the decommissioning ceremony, so today has allowed us that final farewell,” CDRE Grogan said.
“Any decommissioning of a ship is a bittersweet moment. Obviously many people like myself have put blood, sweat and tears into the ship, into the culture and into the family.
“Sirius has also been supported by a lot of people over the 15 years with maintenance, and most importantly our families and loved ones who kept the home fires burning while we went to sea.
“This final hurrah is a testament to all who have contributed to Sirius’s service.”