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Media Release

Defence
MEDIA RELEASE

 
23/04/2008 MECC 99/08
 
 
 
CPA NNN/YY

MISSION ACCOMPLISHED – HMAS ARUNTA HEADS HOME

 

HMAS Arunta is on her way home to Australia after officially handing over to HMAS Stuart in the Arabian Gulf.

 

Arunta’s deployment to the Middle East Area of Operation lasted six months and yielded some interesting statistics.  The ship steamed more than 21,000 nautical miles, conducted 500 queries, 110 surface searches and 35 security sweeps in the Gulf.

 

The ship’s company of 183 consumed 82,000 meals, received 4000 kg of mail and sent or received 80,000 e-mails during the deployment.  Eight promotions were confirmed while Arunta was away and four fathers will see their newborn babies for the first time when the ship docks in Western Australia.

 

Work continued right up to the end for the ANZAC-class frigate.  A giant western flagged super tanker was the last civilian ship to be inspected by the Australians.

 

Each member of the boarding team is armed with a pistol or a shotgun.  The ship’s Seahawk helicopter hovers above, keeping a watchful eye on the pair of ‘RHIBs’ (Rigid Hulled Inflatable Boats) as they skim across the water towards their target.  The mission is to check the vessel for explosives and contraband before it docks at one of Iraq’s two key oil rigs.

 

The approach is the most dangerous part of the task.  Officer in Charge, Lieutenant Gideon Creech reminds his crew not to drop their game.  On board, the Australians fan out, checking identities of those on the tanker and searching for anything suspicious.  Once the all clear is given, Arunta’s boarding party forms a protective cordon as one by one they climb back onboard the RHIBs and return to their ship, allowing the tanker to continue on her way.

 

Oil makes up 80 per cent of Iraq’s fragile economy and the Royal Australian Navy’s contribution to its security is vital.

 

Australia’s work up here is very, very important, and it’s vital that everyone keeps that firmly at the forefront of their minds,” Lieutenant Creech said.

 

HMAS Stuart will take up where Arunta left off, the latest in a long line of Australian Navy ships helping to safeguard Iraq’s economy and its future.  Arunta is expected to dock at Fleet Base West, HMAS Stirling on Mothers’ Day, 11 May 2008.

 

 

Media note: Imagery will be fed to Parliament House. Still imagery is available at http://www.defence.gov.au/media/download/

 

Media contact: Defence Media Liaison: 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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