The crew of HMAS Tobruk returned to Garden Island, Sydney, after spending the last six weeks on a relief mission in the Philippines, following Tropical Cyclone Haiyan.
Commodore Jonathan Mead, Acting Commander of Australian Fleet, welcomed the sailors and officers back home and congratulated them on their tireless support to Australian Defence Force (ADF) humanitarian disaster relief operations.
“The ship sailed with an embarked Army Recovery Support Force, medium landing craft (LCM8) and a Navy MRH-90 helicopter. While in the disaster zone, Tobruk conducted an amphibious lodgement of the embarked Army Recovery Support Force in Ormoc Bay, and took part in cleanup tasks at local schools.
“The ship also distributed aid from the World Food Programme and the Philippine Government to remote islands in the Visayas archipelago,” Commodore Mead said.
HMAS Tobruk was on its deployment to the Solomon Islands when it was re-tasked to provide humanitarian support to the Philippines. The ADF launched the Tropical Cyclone Haiyan response mission on 13 November 2013, having received a request for support from the Philippine Government.
Commanding Officer of Tobruk, Commander Leif Maxfield, commented:
“Arriving in Ormoc Bay, the scale of damage was significant. The crew worked hard as part of the multinational effort to help the local people get their lives back to normal as quickly as possible.”
Tobruk made a short stop in Townsville, before reaching Sydney, where it unloaded 35 members of the Army Recovery Support Force, the landing craft and helicopter.
Naval Today Staff, December 23, 2013; Image: Australian DoD