Her Majesty’s Australian Ship (HMAS) Melbourne has arrived in the Middle East and commenced her first patrol as part of the Combined Maritime Forces (CMF), which conducts maritime security patrols across the region.

HMAS Melbourne is seen during her passage to the Middle East Region for her deployment to Operation MANITOU. *** Local Caption *** HMAS Melbourne is replacing HMAS Newcastle in the Middle East Region as the Australian warship assigned to Operation MANITOU,  Australia's contribution to the US-led Combined Maritime Forces (CMF). CMF undertakes patrols to both combat piracy and to intercept the trafficking of drugs that helps fund international terrorism. CMF also encourages regional cooperation to create a safer maritime environment.  HMAS Melbourne will conduct maritime security operations under the authority of CMF's Combined Task Force (CTF) 150 in the Indian Ocean and Arabian Gulf.
HMAS Melbourne is seen during her passage to the Middle East Region replacing HMAS Newcastle for Australia’s contribution to the US-led Combined Maritime Forces (CMF).

Assigned to CMF’s Combined Task Force (CTF)150, Melbourne will conduct a 5 month rotation that will see her sail over 32,000 nautical miles to ensure the maritime security for approximately 2.5 million square miles of international waters.

HMAS Melbourne’s Commanding Officer, Commander Bill Waters CSC, Royal Australian Navy (RAN), said that Melbourne’s mission is to provide an enduring and commanding presence within the region, ensuring the safe and uninterrupted flow of world trade and intercepting narcotics smugglers whose drugs help fund global terrorism.

“Melbourne has a distinguished legacy of successful deployments in this region,” he said. “We have been working hard to ensure we are individually and collectively prepared, and I’m proud of how my ship’s company has met each challenge along the way. We are very much looking forward to doing what we have trained for. Of course none of this would be possible without the support and sacrifice of our family and friends. Without their unconditional support, we couldn’t achieve all we have nor succeed in what we are about to embark.”

This is HMAS Melbourne’s eighth deployment to the Middle East, having most recently been to the region in 2014, and is the 61st rotation by a Royal Australian Navy ship since the first Gulf War in 2001.

HMAS Melbourne replaces HMAS Newcastle in this the 25th year of Royal Australian Navy operations in the Middle East.