HMA Ships Maitland and Maryborough farewelled Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force (JMSDF) helicopter carrier JS Kaga and destroyer JS Murasame with a formation sail in the waters just off Darwin this week. 

Kaga and Murasame are deployed together to train and exercise with partners in the region and recently took part in Exercise Malabar with HMAS Warramunga.

The RAN and JMSDF have worked together throughout the year on Exercises Talisman Sabre, Pacific Vanguard, ARC-21 and La Perouse with the formation sail off Darwin the most recent example.

Sailing in column and exercising with the JMSDF was a unique opportunity to strengthen interoperability and reaffirm the longstanding friendship between the RAN and the JMSDF.

After detaching Maryborough at outer harbour limits on September 18, Maitland and her crew engaged in a series of officer-of-the-watch manoeuvres with Kaga, demonstrating professional ship handling and close-in manoeuvring between the 57-metre-long patrol boat and the 248-metre-long helicopter carrier.

Maitland and Kaga also conducted an exchange of gifts via seaboat transfer. 

They concluded the manoeuvres with a ceremonial pass, where the ships' companies fell in on the upper decks to wave farewell.

Commanding Officer Maitland Lieutenant Commander Julia Griffin thanked Kaga in Japanese for the opportunity and wished her ship’s company fair winds and following seas.

Shortly after, Maitland rendezvoused with Murasame and conducted a ceremonial pass, with both vessels exchanging waves and final farewells.