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Department of Defence
Media Release


10/02/2006 MECC 23/06
Defence Media Release


Armidale Class Patrol Boats HMA Ships Larrakia and Bathurst are the latest Australian patrol boats to join the Royal Australian Navy’s operational Fleet following a traditional commissioning ceremony in Darwin today.

Member of the Larrakia Nation, Ms Donna Odegaard JP, performed the duties of Commissioning Lady for HMAS Larrakia. Mrs Judeth Bagley, the wife of Lieutenant Commander Ron Bagley (Rtd.), one of the commissioning crew of the first HMAS Bathurst, was the Commissioning Lady for HMAS Bathurst at today’s ceremony.

The first HMAS Larrakia was an air-sea rescue vessel based in Northern Territory waters with the additional role of patrol vessel. The name ‘Larrakia’ derives from the language group name for the Aboriginal people of Darwin. The original HMAS Bathurst was the first of sixty Australian Minesweepers (commonly known as corvettes) built during World War II in Australian shipyards as part of the Commonwealth Government’s wartime shipbuilding program. HMAS Bathurst I was employed on escort and patrol duties during the war.

Today’s ceremony was attended by The Hon Bruce Billson MP, Minister Assisting the Minister for Defence, the Chief of Navy Vice Admiral Russ Shalders AO, CSC, RAN and the Maritime Commander Rear Admiral Davyd Thomas, AM, CSC, RAN. The ship’s Commissions were read by their Commanding Officers, Lieutenant Commander Anthony Powell, RAN (Larrakia), and Lieutenant Commander Andrew Quinn, RAN (Bathurst). Also attending the event were veterans from HMAS Bathurst I, and members of the Larrakia Nation for which the HMAS Larrakia is named. The Naval ceremony was also marked by a traditional Smoke Ceremony performed by members of the Larrakia Nation.

"The formal acceptance of a warship is a proud occasion for the Navy and today is no exception," said Rear Admiral Davyd Thomas.

The two new patrol boats are the second and third state-of-the art Armidale Class Patrol Boats built in Australia for the Navy by Austal Ships in Perth, Western Australia, as part of a $553 million contract between the Federal Government and the Defence Maritime Services.

Compared to the current Fremantle Class Patrol Boats, the Armidale Class Patrol Boats are over 14 metres longer, with longer range and endurance, and enhanced operational capability. The Armidale Class Patrol Boats are able to operate for longer at sea with a range of some 3,000 nautical miles more than the Fremantle Class. They have significantly enhanced habitability, so crews will enjoy greater cabin comfort that in turn will allow them to perform at their optimum ability while at sea.

"The Armidale class vessels substantially improve the Royal Australian Navy’s capability to intercept and apprehend vessels suspected of illegal fishing and quarantine, customs or immigration offences. The patrol boats in this regard play a major role in patrolling and protecting Australia’s coastline and I am confident both ships will serve Australia with distinction for many years to come."

ACPBs are 56.8 meters long, displace 300 tonnes (approx) and have a crew of 21 personnel.


Media contacts:

Kelly Cooper, Regional Manager Defence Public Affairs Northern Territory / Katherine, 08 8935 8491 or 0411 885 994

Defence Public Affairs 02 6265 3343 or 0408 498 664


Issued by Ministerial and Executive Coordination and Communication,
Department of Defence,
Canberra, ACT
Phone: 02 6127 1999 Fax: 02 6265 6946
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