HMAS Ballarat has returned to her home port of Fleet Base West after a rigorous four-month deployment to South-East and north Asia.

During her deployment, Ballarat assisted with the search for the Indonesian submarine KRI Nanggala, conducted Operation Argos, and participated in a range of bilateral and multilateral exercises, including Exercise Talisman Sabre 21 and Large Scale Global Exercise 21.

Commanding Officer Ballarat Commander Antony Pisani said he was extremely proud of his ship’s company during the deployment, during which the ship steamed more than 30,000 nautical miles after departing Western Australia in April.

“Over the course of the deployment, Ballarat undertook a variety of taskings, including multiple bilateral and multilateral maritime exercises with our regional partners,” Commander Pisani said.

“Throughout this period, the ship’s company continued to work diligently and approached each tasking with a positive and confident attitude. I couldn’t be prouder of their performance.”

Waiting on the wharf when the ship came alongside were more than 300 family members and friends who, Commander Pisani said, should also be thanked for their continued support of their loved ones during the deployment.

“I would like to congratulate the families and friends of the ship’s company who have remained steadfast and supportive of their loved ones over what has been a very demanding time for both those deployed and those at home,” Commander Pisani said.

“Without this support from home, Ballarat’s ship’s company wouldn’t have been able to do the job they did over the course of the past four months.”

Commander Pisani said because of the COVID-19 pandemic, the deployment, including port visits, had been contactless.

“This obviously changes the way we interact with our partner nation navies but it did not affect our ability to foster strong Navy-to-Navy relationships with a number of our regional allies,” he said.

“For instance, we refined our interoperability with the United States Navy by conducting cross-deck helicopter operations, joint live-fire gunnery exercises and replenishments at sea on a number of occasions during the deployment.”

The ship’s company will now enjoy some much-deserved respite before the ship deploys again later this year. 

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