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HMAS Ballarat takes part in Border Security Operations

Lieutenant Richard Farrelly RAN, of HMAS Ballarat establishes communications with an offshore platform, to inquire as to seeing any suspicious activity in the area.
Lieutenant Richard Farrelly RAN, of HMAS Ballarat establishes communications with an offshore platform, to inquire as to seeing any suspicious activity in the area.

HMAS Ballarat recently used a transit from Fleet Base West in Perth to Christmas Island to conduct an Augmented Security Patrol (ASP) of Australia’s North West Shelf Venture.

Ballarat’s visit to the North West Shelf Oil and Gas Infrastructure was part of the Navy’s vital contribution to Operation RESOLUTE, the military component of Australia’s maritime border security effort.

Lieutenant Richard Farrelly, Assistant Officer of the Watch in Ballarat said the ASP added a bit of excitement to the journey north.

“We were kept busy plotting a course to get in close to the oil and gas platforms and sharing information on potential irregular activities in the area,” LEUT Farrelly said.

“It was a good feeling to contribute, even in a small way, to protecting Australia’s borders.”

Commander Mark Massie, Operations Officer at Headquarters Northern Command, said Ballarat’s presence in the region offered some reassurance to the Oil and Gas Installations.

“Armidale Class Patrol Boats visit the area frequently, but having an ANZAC Class frigate drop in would have given the patrol a whole new flavour,” he said.

“It’s important work and it sends a message that we’re serious about protecting the government’s investment in the region.”

According to the North West Shelf Gas Venture, the infrastructure constitutes Australia’s largest oil and gas resource development area, which in turn represents an investment of $A27 billion. The venture currently accounts for more than 40 per cent of Australia’s oil and gas production.

The RESOLUTE patrol was the third for Ballarat in the last 12 months, assigned to Joint Task Force 639 and coordinated from Headquarters Northern Command in Darwin.

Following border security operations the ANZAC class frigate will return to Sydney to commence an extended maintenance period before embarking on a South East Asian Deployment in August and September.