HMAS Arunta has successfully conducted a passage exercise with KD Perak of the Royal Malaysian Navy as part of the ship’s East Asia Deployment.

The ships, which rendezvoused off the coast of Kota Kinabalu, remained in company while they conducted various maritime evolutions.

Commanding Officer Arunta Commander Troy Duggan said passage exercises allowed navies of allied nations to work together to improve interoperability and to enhance cohesiveness.

“Exercises such as those we carried out are extremely important in building confidence and knowledge among allied navies,” Commander Duggan said.

“They allow us to develop common goals and have a better understanding of how we conduct business in the maritime environment.”

During the exercise, the ships conducted a series of maritime evolutions, collectively referred to as officer-of-the-watch manoeuvres.

Commander Duggan said exercises such as this demonstrated that Malaysia and Australia can continue operating effectively in the region despite the challenges of the global pandemic.

Arunta’s Navigating Officer Lieutenant Patrick Velu said the navies learned from each other and developed close working relationships.

“When exercising with foreign navies it’s imperative that we both know what the others standard operating procedures are across a range of maritime evolutions,” Lieutenant Velu said.

“Officer-of-the watch manoeuvres provide an opportunity to exercise complex navigational manoeuvres at sea and the most important aspect when working with other countries is building our communication skills to allow us to integrate seamlessly.”

On completion of the passage exercise, Arunta continued her East Asia Deployment where the ship will work with a number of allied navies to underscore Australia’s commitment to a secure, open and prosperous region.

Because of the global pandemic, the ship is only conducting essential logistics visits while deployed and all resupply evolutions are being carried out in accordance with strict COVID-19 mitigation methods.

On completion of her deployment, Arunta will return to her home port of Fleet Base West, Rockingham, Western Australia.