Volume 49, No. 9, June 1, 2006
DOCK: HMAS Huon in preparation to deploy on Operation Cranberry.
ABPH Paul Berry
Two Huon Class Coastal Mine Hunters, HMAS Huon and HMAS Hawkesbury,
will be given new leases on life in order to bolster the fight against
the armada of Foreign Fishing Vessels (FFVs) plundering Australias
Maritime Commander Australia, RADM Davyd Thomas, told Navy News
that cancelling the deactivation of Hawkesbury and reactivating
Huon is one of several initiatives designed to protect the Australian
Economic Exclusion Zone from the growing threat posed by FFVs.
Reactivating Huon and keeping Hawkesbury operational is one
of several initiatives to provide an increased surface response
capability for the Commander Joint Offshore Protection Command,
RADM Thomas said.
RADM Thomas said the recent Budget announcement included an increase
in funding of $95.6 million over four years to enable Defence to
operate two Huon Class mine hunters that will periodically operate
in Australias northern waters, ensuring increased surveillance
and patrolling of Australias high threat maritime approaches.
Illegal fishing is a serious threat to our sovereignty and
this funding recognises the crucial and very important work of all
those involved in maritime security, he said.
The decision to reactivate Huon comes just two months after she
was deactivated in late March as part of the force structure changes
announced in the Defence Capability Review in 2003.
Since Huons deactivation she has been kept by DMO in a preserved
state at HMAS Waterhen, so that she could be brought back into operation
at short notice if required.
Under the current initiative, Huon and Hawkesbury would eventually
replace HMAS Gascoyne, which has deployed to Australias north
to support Armidale and Fremantle class patrol boats conduct Operation
In the near term, the Huon class mine hunters will operate from
HMAS Waterhen, using HMAS Cairns as a forward operating base.