Ship’s company, VIPs and onlookers said farewell to 15-year-old HMAS Launceston, as the vessel was decommissioned at HMAS Coonwarra in Darwin on June 1.
CAPTION: Commanding Officer Lieutenant Commander Adrian Hicks leads ship’s company on parade during a decommissioning ceremony at HMAS Coonawarra, Darwin. Story by Lieutenant Harrison Thomas. Photo by Leading Seaman Leo Baumgartner.
Launceston is the latest Armidale-class patrol boat to be decommissioned, and has conducted a wide variety of operations alongside Australian Border Force, Australian Fisheries and the Australian Federal Police.
Commanding Officer Launceston Lieutenant Commander Adrian Hicks said he felt privileged to be ship’s final commanding officer.
“This is my first command and I have been blessed to take over such an excellent crew and platform,” he said.
“It will be an emotional day when it comes alongside for the final time.”
The vessel has sailed more than 471,000 nautical miles and has visited many ports, including Brunei, Cebu, Makkasar, Zemboanga, Langkawi, Jakarta, Raratonga and Singapore.
Patrol boats are at the heart of the ADF’s contribution to Operation Sovereign Borders and a key arm of Operation Resolute.
Navy is undertaking a transition from the existing Armidale-class patrol boats and Cape-class patrol boats to 12 Arafura-class offshore patrol vessels.
The new patrol vessels will provide a significant increase in capability over the patrol boats they will replace, and will enhance Australia’s capacity to patrol its maritime territory and near region.
Able Seaman Darcy Limbach, a sailor on board Launceston, said it was difficult to say goodbye to the ship.
“It means the end of a rewarding, professional and personal journey – one where I’ve made life-long friendships and memories,” Able Seaman Limbach said.
“It will be sad to no longer see the ‘Launny’ name around the fleet.”
CAPTION: HMAS Launceston conducting boat drills in 2017. Photo by Warrant Officer Class 2 Chris Houghton.