After completing an Operation RESOLUTE deployment in Darwin, HMAS Ballarat commenced a fast transit down the West Coast towards Fleet Base West. Ballarat was in company with HMAS Success as they passed through one of the most important areas on Australia’s long coastline.
The North West shelf resource region makes a considerable contribution towards Australia’s economic prosperity. This vast oil and gas field also supplies large quantities of natural gas for the Western Australian industrial, commercial and domestic markets, through the Dampier to Bunbury Natural Gas Pipeline.
During BLUE RAPTOR, Success provided liquid sustenance (fuel) to HMAS Toowoomba, on her transit north to Darwin. Meanwhile Ballarat conducted continuation training with a successful surface engagement. These evolutions enabled the Royal Australian Navy to provide a presence and demonstrate that they have the ability to provide sustainable protection to these strategic areas should the need arise.
“BLUE RAPTOR exercise promotes the Maritime Security within the North West Shelf, providing support for the dynamic Oil and Gas industry. It demonstrates the interoperability between civilian industry and the Australian Defence Force, while maintaining significant presence of one of Australia’s most valuable strategic assets,” said Lieutenant Kenneth Brown, Ballarat’s Operations Officer.
Ballarat’s next port of call will be Fleet Base West, where the crew will commence preparations for the ship to commence the Anti Ship Missile Defence (ASMD) upgrade and her personnel to swap over to HMAS Anzac to commence post ASMD activities. HMAS Success will call into Fremantle before continuing on her deployment.
HMAS Ballarat patrols Australia’s North West Shelf region as part of Exercise Blue Raptor.
Press Release, March 21, 2014; Image: Australian Navy