HMAS Melbourne and Darwin Review

Written by AHQ

20 February 2014

G’day. Tonight’s post has a bit of a nautical bent as I thought I would catch you up a bit on what our ships are doing.  HMAS Melbourne is now not far from arriving home…..only three weeks to go this Saturday.  I know I have told you that Debbie coming to visit and stay in Sydney for a week but what I haven’t told you is why.  

The Captain of HMAS Melbourne has invited me, and a guest of my choice, to be there when HMAS Melbourne sails in to Sydney on Saturday the 15th of March.  My husband David was invited to come but as his travel schedule is so fluid and unpredictable we decided that I should plan to take someone else. “Take the person who has done the work” he said, so that made the decision pretty easy, thankfully!  Debbie assembled and completed the quilt that we made for the Captain’s daughter, using blocks sent in from around Australia so she was the obvious choice.  We will be collected from my home, driven in to the city and then dropped home again at the end.  To say that Debbie and I are looking forward to the day would be a huge understatement!    Only one problem………what to wear!!!

Some of you are on Facebook so you will know how successful HMAS Melbourne has been in the Middle East.

Their deployment has been extremely successful and the crew has every right to be proud of their achievements.  In case you have not heard they have carried out several seizures of major amounts of heroin  and amphetamines as well as capturing a speed boat of somali pirates.

More details of the capture can be found here including how the pirates’ boats were destroyed at sea and the fact that the Captain of Melbourne  said he had identified a “nice remote” area of the Somali coast to land the nine pirates.  Somalie pirates have commandeered dozens of merchant vessels and made millions of dollars from ransom demands during the past ten years.       

In December Melbourne seized and destroyed AUS $113 million dollars worth of amphetamines.  

This month they have had major success.  First they seized and destroyed  353kg of heroin worth an estimated AUS $706 million.  

Next came the seizure of more narcotics off the coast of Tanzania, this time 190kg of heroin with an estimated street value of AUS$380 billion

Their latest success was another seizure worth AUS$113 million comprised of 62 bags – 4000 cannabis resin bricks.   To put that in context, each brick is more than enough to buy an AK-47  assault rifle or IED (improvised explosive device) components.

HMAS Melbourne’s captain said these seizures helped prevent funding if international terrorism. 

A great deployment for HMAS Melbourne -err  not so good for the drug dealers and terrorists.  

Melbourne also had another reason to celebrate.  Most ladies don’t like to devulge their age but Melbourne is not so shy.  On the 15th of February she entered Port Sultan Qaboos in Oman in the Middle East.  This was an opportunity to offload waste and take on fresh, frozen and dry food but is also marked the ship’s 22nd birthday.  The ship’s youngest sailor and the and the Captain shared the honour of cutting the cake and then 232 pieces of cake were dispensed to the crew.  

Happy Belated Birthday HMAS Melbourne!

I understand that HMAS Melbourne has received their last delivery of mail until they come home so I am in the process of trying to narrow down who is still waiting to receive their quilts.  If you have not heard from your recipient bear with me as I track them down but don’t hesitate to contact me if you have any queries.  
So, how is HMAS Darwin going?

After a week at sea, HMAS Darwin made a brief logistics visit to Diego Garcia for one day. 

Next the ship moved on to cross the Equator.  Every time a ship crosses the Equator they tradionally pay homage to King Neptune.   This is called “Crossing the Line”.  The senior sailors dress up and everyone as some fun. This is a long standing tradition that in the past has been considered a type of initiation ceremony but these days it is a way to relax and have some fun whilst remembering time honoured traditions.  

Darwin’s Captain knew he would be brought before the court – the captain always is – so he was suitably prepared  with a poetic plea in mitigation…… 

King Neptune, all Mighty Master of the Sea,

On all these charges I plead Not Guilty,
Although you are righteous, grand and noble as can be,
I cannot say likewise for your sad sack of bears before me,
As for your wench, all shrivelled and old,
She needs more than glue, to stop you getting cold,
To think of my Green past and the suffering that I have behold,
On many a poor ship’s company that I have fore told,
I made them work, I made them fight,
I made them sweat, DC day and night!
Yet you have not charged me with such atrocities,
Instead you have tabled these pitiful un-pleasantries,
If you charge me with being a past member of Sea Training Group,
Grinding and Driving, Ohh How Low I did Stoop,
On this charge alone, Oh Master of the Sea,

All I can say is….I plead Guilty!

There are photos too but you will have to wait for those. 

Darwin has just completed a visit to Kochi in India and subsequently conducted some exercises with the Indian Navy Ship Sunanya which provided an excellent opportunity to improve interoperability.

The chaplain of HMAS Dawin held a memorial service in the Wardroom to commemorate mark the 50th Anniversary of the collision between the HMA Ships Voyager and Melbourne on 10 Feb 1964. 

Darwin is yet to receive any mail from us but the messages I receive every time that I tell a crew member that their quilt is on the way indicate that there is a great deal of anticipation and a huge amount of appreciation for what we are doing for them.

This is one of my favourite replies so far

“Thank you for having the time to do this for me and my shipmates.  It comforts me to know that people like yourself and your team are thinking of us during such a long deployment away from our families and loved ones.  I will inform you promptly once I have the quilt in my hot little hands!”

All information and photos on this post were taken from the Facebook pages for both ships.

Caroline, Chaplain Mark and I enjoyed a quick dinner together last night and then moved on to pack up 16 quilts which made it to the Post Office this morning! 

And while we are talking about hitting the Post, if you have posted a quilt or a laundry bag off this week you should be on the following list. If you think you have been left off please do not hesitate to let me know so that I can make sure that you are included in tomorrow night’s post.

Anne D
Barbara D
Bev and Geoff
Bev T
 Jenny and Gale
Julie Ann
Karen B
Sue N

Till next time ………………..keep spreading the word and happy stitching!  JMxx

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1 Comment

  1. Sue Niven

    A huge post, Thank you so much for all that you do.


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