Australian Navy shortens ship deployments ahead of festive season

Royal Australian Navy Chief Petty Officer Aviation Technician Darren Pretious, is welcomed home by his sons as HMAS Melbourne returns home to Sydney after a six month deployment. Photo: Royal Australian Navy

The Royal Australian Navy has shortened deployments for a number of its ships due to the upcoming festive season.

The decision has allowed frigates HMAS Melbourne and HMAS Stuart to return alongside their home ports early from their APEC Assist tasking.

As explained by the navy, the shortening of the ships’ deployments follows a recent review of operational requirements which focused “on a sustainable generation of capability.”

“Navy’s focus on balancing the wellbeing of its people with meeting the mission, is being put into action with an early Christmas present on the horizon for a number of Navy families this year,” the navy said.

“The early call to return to our home port got everyone very excited and was amazing for the moral on board,” HMAS Melbourne’s Command Warrant Officer, Steve Cheeseman said commenting on the decision.

“Coming home after five and a half months instead of seven is a great gift.”

Commander Surface Force, Commodore Chris Smith, said that navy is committed to balancing its operational demands with sustainable effort which includes actively managing its people’s work rate.

“The early return home of these ships is a practical example of the importance that we are placing on achieving that balance,” CDRE Smith said.

The navy further said it intends to release other platforms from their activities as soon as requirements allow to get them home for a well-earned break over Christmas.

The navy did not specify which vessels could return home early, but Royal Australian Navy ships still underway include minehunters HMAS Huon and HMAS Gascoyne which are conducting mine warfare training with ally nations in East Asia. The largest ship in the fleet, HMAS Canberra, was among the ships tasked with securing the APEC summit and is yet to return home.

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