HMAS Stuart returns from Middle East deployment
1 July 2011
Her Excellency Professor Marie Bashir AC CVO, Governor of New South Wales, joined the Minister for Defence Stephen Smith MP, the Commander Australian Fleet Rear Admiral Stephen Gilmore AM CSC RAN and family and friends in congratulating HMAS Stuart’s crewas they returned yesterday morning from a successful six month deployment to the Middle East.
Arriving alongside Garden Island, Sydney, Stuart and her embarked ship’s company of 190 were cheered alongside.
Mr Smith congratulated the Commanding Officer of Stuart, Commander Brett Sonter RAN on a successful deployment
“Over the six months that Stuart was assigned to Operation Slipper, she undertook maritime security operations, conducting more than 300 queries of vessels and 30 boardings. These actions directly contributed to the international campaign against terrorism, counter smuggling and counter piracy in the Gulf of Aden, Arabian Sea and the Red Sea.
“The highlight of the deployment was Stuart’ssuccessful interdiction of a Yemeni-flagged dhow, rescuing three crew members who were being held hostage by Somali pirates off the Horn of Africa,” said Minister Smith.
Commander Sonter said the ship’s company had served as an effective unit while deployed.
“I am extremely proud of the professionalism and dedication that Stuart's ship's company have demonstrated over the last six months. They have exceeded expectations, while presenting the Navy as a highly skilled and competent military force and coalition partner,” said Commander Sonter.
“The communication and support from Stuart's extended family and friends back in Australia has been crucial to the crew. I would like to formally recognise and thank them for their vital support throughout the deployment. They are a very essential element of the HMAS Stuart community.”
The arrival marked the end of the fourth tour of duty for Stuart, which was replaced on station by HMAS Toowoomba in early June.
Imagery of HMAS Stuart’sreturn can be found here: http://images.defence.gov.au/fotoweb/Grid.fwx?archiveId=5002&search=20113232
Media contact: Defence Media Operations (02) 6127 1999 or 0408 498 664