|Friends and family of HMAS Arunta farewelled their loved ones from the wharf at Fleet Base West as the ship departed for Operation Manitou in the Middle East Region. (photo: LSIS Lee-Anne Mack)|
November 14, 2016 - There was a somber tone at HMAS Stirling, in Western Australia, as the 191 men and women serving in HMAS Arunta said goodbye to loved ones and joined the frigate to depart for close to nine months in the Middle East.
Commander Australian Fleet, Rear Admiral Stuart Mayer was on the wharf to wish the ship safe passage and following seas as she transited to the mission under Operation MANITOU.
“You will continue a proud tradition of making a difference, enhancing security, fostering trade and commerce in support of Government aims,” he said.
The ship will be the 64th Royal Australian Navy ship to the Middle East since 1990 and will be the first in an extended rotation which will see greater time on task for Australian ships.
Commanding Officer Commander Cameron Steil said the deployment was for a vital mission.
“We have trained hard and we are well prepared for the job,” he said.
“During this time, we will conduct maritime security operations as part of multi-national Combined Maritime Forces, including deterring terrorists and the trade of narcotics that fund them,” Commander Steil said.
“It is very hard to say good bye to our loved ones, especially with Christmas around the corner, but we are prepared and focused.
“To our family and friends, thanks for getting us to where we are today. We wouldn’t be here without your support. We will stay in touch and can’t wait to see you on completion of our mission,” Commander Steil said.
Arunta follows in the wake of sister ship HMAS Perth, which returned from Operation MANITOU commitments on Remembrance Day. With the extended deployment, ship’s company will be provided opportunities for respite as the operational requirements permit.
Operation MANITOU is Australia’s contribution to counter terrorism, counter piracy, narcotics interdiction and contributes significantly to stability to the Middle East region.