Minister for Defence Senator David Johnston sent his congratulations to Royal Australian Navy (RAN) personnel from HMAS Newcastle who returned home from a six-month deployment to the Middle East today.
Prime Minister Tony Abbott was at the port to welcome RAN personnel from the ship as they disembarked at Fleet Base East, Sydney.
The 230 members embarked on the guided missile frigate were welcomed alongside by excited family and friends.
Senator Johnston congratulated Newcastle’s crew on their dedication to the promoting a secure maritime environment.
“Their commitment to the mission saw Newcastle succeed on every front,” he said
“During their assignment to Operation SLIPPER, their patrols helped to defeat terrorism, prevent piracy and deterred the illegal trafficking of people and drugs.”
Senator Johnston noted that Newcastle was held in high regard among the 27 member-nations that they were operating with in support of Combined Maritime Forces
Commanding Officer of Newcastle, Commander Paul O’Grady, said the ship’s company was proud of their achievements.
“Newcastle provided assistance to a number of distressed mariners,” Commander O’Grady said
“A medical team was winched onboard the disabled Merchant Tanker Perla to evacuate two crewmen burned in a machinery fire in the Somali Basin.
“We also conducted a search and rescue in conjunction with a Chinese Navy frigate for fishermen lost at sea in the Indian ocean.
“We are proud to have been of service to our country, and are delighted to now be returning home to our loved ones,” said Commander O’Grady.
The return marked Newcastle's fourth deployment to the Middle East Area of Operations and the fifty-fifth rotation of a Royal Australian Navy Fleet Unit to the region since the first Gulf War in 1990.
Newcastle was relieved on station by HMAS Melbourne.
Imagery will be available at: http://images.defence.gov.au/S20131687
A selection of imagery from Newcastle’s deployment is available at: http://images.defence.gov.au/S20131517
Rebecca Horton (Minister Johnston’s Office): 0427 449 120
Defence Media Operations (02) 6127 1999