After almost two years of operations with the Royal Australian Navy, Australian Defence Vessel Cape Byron was returned to the original owner, Australian Border Force.
The crew of ADV Cape Byron gathered on the upper deck to farewell and hand-back the Cape class patrol boat as her duties for navy completed.
Defence has been operating up to two Cape class boats on loan from the Australian Border Force as it awaited the arrival of its own two vessels in the class.
The decision to lease the Cape-class vessels was made to reduce the operational tempo of Armidale-class patrol boats. A 2014 fire which destroyed HMAS Bundaberg only added to the problems the Armidale boats were experiencing.
Cape Byron is now being returned to the border force as the navy expects the second Cape-class boat to arrive.
Executive Officer Cape Byron Lieutenant Commander Emma McDonald-Kerr said that Cape Byron had chalked-up many achievements defending Australia’s maritime security interests.
“Since July 2015, Cape Byron steamed 68,208 nautical miles whilst operated by a Royal Australian Navy crew and spent 6,494 hours underway,” Lieutenant Commander McDonald-Kerr said.
“Cape Byron was exclusively force assigned to operation Resolute and patrolled Australian waters stretching from Queensland to Western Australia.
“We have undertaken a number of boardings that have resulted in four apprehensions in the vicinity of Ashmore Island, the Torres Strait and Darwin.
Dual-crewed, dubbed Port and Starboard, the Navy team used the vessel to great impact in the region.
Accepting the keys from Navy’s Commanding Officer, Lieutenant Commander Steve Noakes of Starboard crew, incoming Australian Border Force Commanding Officer Inspector Mark Radon said that Cape Byron would continue to maintain Australia’s national security.
“I am excited to take command of Cape Byron with my new crew keen and ready to sail,” Inspector Radon said.