HMAS Wewak decommissioned
11 December 2012
Navy personnel and dignitaries today gathered at HMAS Cairns to farewell an old friend, Balikpapan Class Landing Craft Heavy (LCH), HMAS Wewak.
The ship is being decommissioned after almost 40 years of service moving large amounts of cargo, personnel and equipment from larger ships to shore.
As friends and family looked on HMAS Wewak’s Commanding Officer Lieutenant Luke Weston and the ship's company farewelled their ship in a traditional Navy decommissioning ceremony.
"HMAS Wewak has served for almost 40 years, conducting countless operational deployments and making a vital contribution to Navy's delivery of secure Australian waters,” Lieutenant Weston said.
“It was my honour and pleasure to command her and it is with great fondness that we say farewell today.”
HMAS Wewak’s decommissioning brings an end to nearly four decades of essential logistic support, not only to the Australian Defence Force but also to the broader civilian communities of Australia and the South Pacific. The high tempo of her commitments reflected her motto, Do Not Yield.
Wewak was one of eight LCH vessels to to join the First Australian Landing Craft Squadron between 1971 and 1975. Each LCH was named after an amphibious assault of World War II. Wewak was named after the amphibious assault on Wewak, Papua New Guinea, that took place on 11 May 1945.
All of the remaining Balikpapan Class LCH ships are due to be decommissioned during the next two years. HMA Ships Wewak, Betano and Balikpapan are decommissioning this month. HMA Ships Brunei, Labuan and Tarakanare programmed to decommission in the last quarter of 2014.
They will be replaced by six new heavy landing craft with improved ocean going capabilities able to transport armoured vehicles, trucks, stores and people.