HMAS Stuart sails to Middle East for fourth mission
The Royal Australian Navy’s HMAS Stuart sailed for the Middle East Area of Operations today, where she will relieve HMAS Melbourne on Operation Slipper. This is the fourth time that Stuart has been deployed to the Gulf and the Navy’s 25th rotation since September 2001.
With a ship’s company of approximately 190 men and women, Stuart was farewelled by Minister for Defence Science and Personnel and the Minister for Veterans’ Affairs the Hon Warren Snowdon MP, Chief of Navy Vice Admiral Russ Crane AO, CSM, RAN and Commander Australian Fleet Rear Admiral Steve Gilmore, AM, CSC, RAN, as well as family and friends.
"The work that the men and women embarked on Stuart do is vital in strengthening maritime security in the Gulf of Aden and the environment around the Horn of Africa. I have no doubt that Stuart’s ship’s company will rise to the challenge and continue the good work of her forbears," Mr Snowdon said.
"The thoughts and best wishes of the nation are with Stuart as she sails to undertake this important task."
While deployed, Stuart will conduct maritime interdiction and counter-piracy operations, which will see her provide a deterrent presence and escort for merchant ships in the maritime corridor of the Gulf of Aden. She will also track and report on piracy activities.
Commanding Officer HMAS Stuart Commander Brett Sonter said, "My ship’s company are looking forward to this deployment, following a demanding, yet very-rewarding intensive training period. It is a great honour to be undertaking this important role on behalf of the Australian people".
"The prolonged of absence will be made easier knowing that we have the support of our families and friends. This support to date, combined with the training we have been given, ensures that we are extremely well placed to succeed in our mission."
Stuart participated in a mission-readiness assessment in November, which followed months of concentrated work-up training aimed at preparing the ship for operational deployment.