HMAS Canberra returned to Sydney after a three-month deployment comprised of multilateral training exercises as part of a task group, maritime integration with Army elements and a successful search and rescue in the Pacific. 

Commanding Officer Captain Terry Morrison commended the resilience and hard work of the ship’s company and embarked forces during a busy deployment without port visits because of COVID-19 restrictions. 

“This was an unusual trip because of the complexities of the pandemic but we embraced the challenges and performed at our highest levels throughout,” Captain Morrison said.

“Our officers, sailors and embarked Army members all kept positive attitudes and showed their commitment to maintaining our skills and proving our ship’s capabilities.

“We can be proud of our professionalism in engagement with other navies, including the United States, Japan, and Singapore, in which we practised interoperability and shared knowledge for the support and security of our region.” 

In Micronesia, Canberra and its embarked Army helicopter crews from 1st Aviation Regiment were instrumental in a search and rescue operation which successfully located three men who had been missing at sea for nearly three days. 

In the Solomon Islands, the ship held a memorial marking the anniversary of the sinking of her namesake, HMAS Canberra (I), in a World War II battle. 

Maritime logistics supply chain Leading Seaman Josh Allport said the deployment had a number of highlights despite a busy workload for his team. 

“Being part of the rescue of the Micronesian men and helping to supply them with food and water and essentials is definitely a memory I will take home to my family,” Leading Seaman Allport said. 

“Throughout the trip we kept our spirits up by being there for each other through game nights, exercise, or a chat with friends on the upper decks.” 

Canberra sailed from Sydney in June for a period of Force Integration Training with other ships in the fleet before leaving Australia as part of a five-ship task group conducting maritime exercises with other nations in South-East Asia and the Pacific. 

The Regional Presence Deployment demonstrated Australia’s commitment to sustaining strong and positive defence relations with regional nations as well as working to enhance the security and stability of the Indo-Pacific region.