The Royal Australian Navy (RAN) ANZAC Class Frigate, HMAS STUART, left its home port of Sydney prior to the New Year to relieve HMAS MELBOURNE as Australia’s contribution to the Combined Maritime Force.

HMAS Stuart

As part of the Combined Maritime Force, Stuart and her 191 crew will be tasked to conduct maritime interdiction, counter-piracy operations and escort merchant ships in the maritime corridor of the Gulf of Aden. Stuart will also be conducting regional engagement and Gulf state co-operation to further the Combined Maritime Force and the Australian Government aims.

The importance of Stuart’s mission was emphasised by the RAN Chief of Navy, Vice Admiral Russ Crane by saying “The work that the men and women embarked on Stuart do is vital in strengthening maritime security in the Gulf of Aden and the environment around the Horn of Africa”.

This is the fourth time that Stuart has deployed to the Middle East and the Navy’s 25th OP SLIPPER rotation since September 2001. This will also be Stuart’s second rotation to the Combined Maritime Force in twelve months.