Families waved from under umbrellas as HMAS Parramatta sailed away from Garden Island, Sydney, beneath grey skies on a four-month deployment to South-East Asia on February 3.

Parramatta will visit India, Sri Lanka, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam, participating in several major military exercises.

Among the planned activities, Parramatta’s Commanding Officer, Commander Anita Nemarich, said the ship would be part of two international fleet reviews.

“This deployment is a valuable opportunity to build relationships with our regional partners and demonstrate the professionalism and capability of our Navy and our people,” Commander Nemarich said.

On the wharf at Fleet Base East, Vanessa McMillan and her children waved as the ship sailed, hoping for a glimpse of her husband, Maritime Warfare Officer Lieutenant Daniel McMillan.

“I’m so proud of Daniel and the sacrifices he has made to get to this point,” she said.

“He has inspired our children - my daughter Cassandra has applied for a job in the Navy - and I love being a Navy wife and being part of the community.”

The Royal Australian Navy conducts regular military-to-military engagements throughout the Indo-Pacific region each year and Parramatta is the first ship to depart on an international deployment in 2020.

Among the 190 crew were several sailors on their first deployment, including Seaman Boatswain’s Mate Claire Brown, who joined Parramatta in January.

“It’s exciting to be part of something big like this for my first deployment,” Seaman Brown said.

“I’m looking forward to the hands-on experience of doing my job at sea, getting to know my workmates and seeing more of the world.”