HMAS Stuart took a short break from her Combined Maritime Forces (CMF) commitments to reinforce Australia’s relationship with Pakistan by participating in the multi-national Exercise AMAN 2011.
As part of the preparations, HMAS Stuart went alongside in Karachi to conduct pre-exercise briefings. Whilst there the Chief of the Pakistan Navy, Admiral Noman Bashir, visited the ship to welcome her to Karachi, exchange gifts and discuss the forthcoming exercise which focused on issues related to piracy, maritime security operations, human trafficking and international trade.
The following morning, HMAS Stuart, in company with 17 other ships departed for approximately 36 hours of naval exercises and manoeuvres prior to returning to CMF tasking.
The Commanding Officer of HMAS Stuart, Commander Brett Sonter, RAN said,
“With participants from 12 navies and comprising a wide variety of naval assets, Exercise Aman 2011 was an excellent opportunity to promote military cooperation, share best practice and demonstrate our mutual commitment to the region.”
Prior to the sea phase of the exercise, participating nations were also invited to an International Cultural Fair and Food Gala attended by over 500 sailors and dignitaries.
The CO and 35 members of HMAS Stuart’s Ship’s Company attended the Gala which provided an opportunity to meet their fellow mariners. Each participating nation was allocated a stall to decorate and lay out with traditional fare and cultural items from their region or country.
There was also an opportunity to perform music from participants’ nations. HMAS Stuart’s Lieutenant David Hastie, RAN proved to be a huge hit after donning the traditional Stuart tartan kilt and piping a number of tunes, including Waltzing Matilda, on the bagpipes.
Exercise Aman 2011 was conducted from 8th to 12th March in the Arabian Sea, the third in a biennial series of exercises off Pakistan’s coast. ‘Aman’ is an Urdu word for ‘peace’. A total of 39 countries participated in or observed the exercise.
HMAS Stuart joined CMF on 19 Jan 2011, relieving HMAS Melbourne.