Heartfelt homecoming for HMAS Parramatta and 191 crew members
31 March 2012
The Governor of New South Wales, Her Excellency Professor Marie Bashir AC CVO, joined the Minister for Defence Science and Personnel, Warren Snowdon and the Commander Australian Fleet, Rear Admiral Tim Barrett AM CSC RAN to welcome home HMAS Parramatta from a six-month deployment to the Middle East today.
Family and friends filled the wharf to celebrate the return of the 191 crew members on board the Anzac Class Frigate.
Mr Snowdon congratulated the Commanding Officer of Parramatta, Commander Guy Blackburn, RAN on the conduct of an exceptionally successful deployment as part of Operation Slipper and Combined Maritime Forces.
“Parramatta was the seventh Royal Australian Navy warship to participate in counter-terrorism operations in the Gulf of Oman, North Arabian Sea, and the strategically important Bab Al Mandeb and Straits of Hormuz.
The crew also conducted important counter-piracy operations in the Gulf of Aden and in the waters off the Horn of Africa and the Somali Basin,” Mr Snowdon said.
“While deployed Parramatta successfully seized and destroyed more than 240 kilograms of illegal narcotics in the Arabian Sea. The drugs had an estimated street value of US $5 million and their disposal denied insurgents and terrorists access to vital funds.”
“Parramatta also provided life saving assistance to the crew of an Iranian dhow set adrift on the high seas after being pirated on Christmas Eve 2011,” he said.
Commander Blackburn attributed the success of the mission to his crew’s focus.
“The dedication of HMAS Parramatta’s ship’s company was vital to the mission. We stemmed the flow of terrorist activities by denying them access to the drug money which they use to purchase weapons and ammunition. Effectively taking insurgents out of the fight.”
“The Australian public should be very proud of my ship’s company who have done their bit to keep the sea lanes free,” said Commander Blackburn.
“The love and support of our family and friends was vital to morale and the success of our mission.”
This deployment marked Parramatta’s fourth deployment to the Middle East and was the 27th rotation of a Royal Australian Navy ship since September 2001.
Parramatta was relieved on station by HMAS Melbourne in March.
Images of the ships arrival are available at:
Marcus Butler (Minister Snowdon) 02 6277 7820
Defence Media Operations: 02 6127 1999