HMAS Parramatta Departure to the Middle East Area of Operations
Fleet Base East
26 September 2011
(check against delivery)
I thank the Commanding Officer, HMAS Kuttabul, Commander Christine Clarke for that introduction.
I acknowledge my parliamentary colleagues:
Shadow Minister for Defence, Senator David Johnston;
Member for Parramatta, Dr Geoffrey Lee;
Representing Commander Australian Fleet, Commodore Steve McDowall:
Commanding Officer, HMAS Parramatta; Commander Guy Blackburn;
Ship’s company of HMAS Parramatta; and,
Families and friends of the ship’s company of HMAS Parramatta.
Today we farewell the ship’s company of HMAS Parramatta as she departs on a six month deployment to the Middle East.
This will be the Royal Australian Navy’s 27th rotation of Operation SLIPPER, Australia’s military contribution to the international campaigns against terrorism, countering piracy in the Gulf of Aden, and maritime security in the Middle East Area of Operations.
Since the commencement of Operation SLIPPER in 2001, Australia has maintained a maritime contribution in the Middle East Area of Operations.
From 2001 to 2008, Australia’s maritime contribution focused on maritime security operations in the northern Persian Gulf.
With the withdrawal of Australian Defence Force personnel from Iraq in 2008, the Operation SLIPPER maritime role shifted to counter-terrorism and maritime security.
The Australian maritime contribution also became involved in international counter-piracy efforts which commenced in 2009 under a United Nations Security Council mandate.
Parramatta has already made significant contributions as part of Operation SLIPPER.
This will be Parramatta’s fourth deployment on Operation SLIPPER.
During her last deployment to the Middle East, beginning in March 2010, HMAS Parramatta successfully responded to 14 distress calls in relation to suspected piracy events and successfully intercepted one pirate vessel.
HMAS Parramatta will be deployed to the US-led Combined Maritime Forces, which patrols more than 2.5 million square miles of international waters to counter terrorism, prevent piracy and reduce the illegal trafficking of people and drugs.
These operations help develop and maintain maritime security and promote stability and prosperity.
HMAS Parramatta, along with our maritime partners, will be responsible for conducting maritime security operations in the Gulf of Aden, Gulf of Oman, the Arabian Sea, Red Sea and the Indian Ocean.
HMAS Toowoomba, our ship currently deployed on Operation SLIPPER will soon hand over to HMAS Parramatta. Toowoomba will then return to her home port of Fleet Base West from her deployment to the Middle East, which commenced on 19 May 2011.
To family and friends:
The men and women of the Australian Navy and wider Defence Force choose, each day, to wear their uniform with pride, representing our nation at home and abroad.
The over 190 men and women you see before you represent the core values of the Australian Navy to the highest standard.
Courage; Honour; Honesty; Loyalty; Integrity.
These are the values expected of them and their colleagues and what hold the Australian Navy in high regard with our international partners.
To the ship’s company:
Your family and friends are proud of what you have already achieved and confident in your ability to meet the challenges that lie ahead during your six month deployment.
You will face not only the challenges of the work that you are carrying out in Australia’s national interests and in the international community’s interests, but you will also face the challenges of being apart from family and friends.
There will be sadness as family and friends farewell you today, but through the sadness is a great sense of pride.
We honour what you do, we are proud of what you do, Australia honours what you do.
On behalf of the Parliament, and all Australians, we wish you every success on your deployment.
Your family, your friends and your nation stand fast awaiting your safe return.