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HMAS Melbourne sails for Middle East mission

Family and friends joined dignitaries on the wharf at Garden Island, Sydney today to wave goodbye to HMAS Melbourne, as she departed for a tour of duty to the Middle East Area of Operations.

Commander Australian Fleet, Rear Admiral Tim Barrett, and Minister for Defence Science and Personnel Warren Snowdon, farewelled HMAS Melbourne as she began a six-month deployment focussed on maritime security and interception operations as part of Operation Slipper.

Commanding Officer HMAS Melbourne, Commander Brian Schlegel, says his ship’s company of 234 are well prepared for the task ahead.

“While it will be tough to be without our loved ones over the Christmas and New Year period, my crew are excited to be doing our part to protect sea lanes for trade while deterring illegal traffic and piracy,” Commander Schlegel said.

“My ship’s company are a well-oiled machine, having put in many hours of rigorous training to ensure we are prepared for all the tasks that we may be asked to complete while assigned as part of multinational Combined Maritime Forces.”

Commander Australian Fleet, Rear Admiral Barrett thanked the ship’s company and their family and friends for their sacrifices.

“It is never easy to be apart from loved ones, but rest assured HMAS Melbourne is well prepared for this important mission.

“As an island nation, Australia is dependent on the sea for our security and prosperity.  While deployed a long way from our shores, you can be assured that every member of Melbourne is playing an important part in protecting our national interests,” Rear Admiral Barrett said.

Operation Slipper is the Australian Defence Force's contribution to the international campaign against terrorism, counter smuggling and counter piracy in the Gulf of Aden, and enhancing regional maritime security.