The Parliamentary Secretary for Defence, the Hon Dr Mike Kelly AM MP, the Commander Australian Fleet, Rear Admiral Tim Barrett AM CSC RAN and representing the New Zealand Defence Attache, Commander David Hedgley, FNI, RNNZ welcomed home HMAS Melbourne from a six-month deployment to the Middle East today.
Family and friends filled the wharf to celebrate the return of the ship and her crew of 236.
Dr Kelly congratulated the Commanding Officer of Melbourne, Commander Richard Boulton, RAN on the conduct of an exceptionally successful deployment as part of Operation Slipper and also onAustralia’s contribution to the Combined Maritime Forces.
“The crew of HMAS Melbourne have dedicated themselves to an important mission and succeeded on every front. While deployed they played a critical role in disrupting terrorist and violent extremist organisations in the Middle East,” said Dr Kelly.
“Notably, for the first time since World War II, a New Zealand Navy contingent of three sailors embarked Melbourne. The embedding of the sailors demonstrates the natural allegiance and shared interest of our two nations.”
Commanding Officer of HMAS Melbourne, Commander Richard Boulton, said Melbourne’s crew earned an excellent reputation amongst the international maritime community working as part of the Combined Maritime Forces.
“Everyone onboard Melbourne has given their all during this deployment, working long hours to secure the maritime environment for legitimate trade,” Command Boulton said.
“I am proud of the contribution made by each member of my ship’s company and thank the family and friends gathered here today for enabling our success with their love and support.”
This deployment marked Melbourne’s third deployment to the Middle East and was the 28th rotation of a Royal Australian Navy ship since September 2001. Melbourne was relieved on station by HMAS Anzac in July.
Imagery of the return will be available from the following link later today: http://images.defence.gov.au/12130671.
Robbie Rynehart (Dr Kelly) 02 6277 4840 or 0459 810 654
Defence Media Operations 02 6127 1999