HMAS Ararat earlier this month completed a joint maritime patrol with Republic of Fiji Navy (RFN) Guardian-class patrol boat RFNS Savenaca.
Ararat partnered with Savenaca while operating in Fijian waters to detect and deter illegal, unreported and unregulated regional fishing activity.
HMAS Ararat navigator Lieutenant Sam Fiez said the combined patrol was a great opportunity for the two crews to practise their core mariner skills.
“The opportunity to work in lock-step alongside our friends of the Fijian Navy was both thoroughly enjoyable and incredibly rewarding,” Lieutenant Fiez said.
“Through our combined maritime patrol with Savenaca, both units steadily built trust and interoperability.
“During four days working together in close quarters, Ararat and Savenaca exercised officer-of-the-watch manoeuvres and replenishment approaches, and conducted a light-line transfer.
“The chance to execute core mariner skills was fully embraced by our partners in the Fijian Navy.
“It was a privilege and pleasure to work alongside the RFN.”
During the combined patrol, crew members from each ship crossed decks for a sea ride in the other vessel.
Commanding officer Ararat Lieutenant Commander David Martinussen said this was a highlight for both crews.
CAPTION: Armidale Class Patrol Boat HMAS Ararat in September 2021. Photo by Leading Seaman Ernesto Sanchez.
“The cross-deck was the highlight of our deployment,” Lieutenant Commander Martinussen said.
“The sight of Fijian chefs putting meals on the line was a buzz.
“So too was the sight of technical sailors working through engineering casualty drills.
“Both navies enjoyed seeing their counterparts at work – a sea of smiling faces told the story.”
Off the water, the crews contested the inaugural touch football competition, the Navy Vuvale (‘family’) Championship Shield, in Suva.
Fiji was too good on the day.
HMAS Ararat has now departed the South Pacific, with her commitments in Solomon Islands and Fiji complete.
The crew will return to Darwin where the ship will decommission in early July.