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Photo Essay: RAN decommissions long-serving vessels

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The Royal Australian Navy has farewelled two of its longest-serving vessels, HMA Ships Success and Newcastle with ceremonies in their home ports of Garden Island in Sydney.

With a combined 58 years of service (33 years for Success, 25 for Newcastle), the two vessels travelled nearly 2 million nautical miles for the Royal Australian Navy.

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Since commissioning in 1993, Newcastle has been deployed on operations to the Middle East six times; earned battle honours for her service in East Timor, the Persian Gulf and the Middle East; and conducted peacekeeping operations in the Solomon Islands.

Minister for Defence Linda Reynolds said that Newcastle had been essential in protecting Australia’s maritime interests.

“HMAS Newcastle has served the Royal Australian Navy with distinction for over quarter of a century,” Minister Reynolds said.

“I pay tribute to the ship’s company whose service on Newcastle over the years has contributed to security at sea, at home and abroad.”

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HMAS Newcastle is being decommissioned to make way for the Hobart Class guided missile destroyers, which will provide Australia with "an improved war fighting capability".

Commissioned in 1986, HMAS Success participated in a record 11 Rim of the Pacific exercises, earned battle honours for service during the 1991 Gulf War and in East Timor in 1999, and helped search for missing Malaysian Airlines Flight 370.

Chief of Navy, Vice Admiral Michael Noonan, joined 23rd and final Commanding Officer of HMAS Success, Captain Darren Grogan, to pay tribute to the ‘First Lady of the Fleet’, a title given to Navy’s oldest ship, and the 5,000 men and women who served on her.

“HMAS Success has built a proud history and served Australia with distinction by contributing to many of Navy’s most important operations over the past three decades,” VADM Noonan said. 

“It was the hard work and dedication of the crews who called Success home that made this ship so effective over such a long career.”

HMAS Success is being decommissioned to make way for a new oil replenishment ship HMAS Supply (II), which will commence service in 2020.

For a look at the ship's decommissioning ceremonies, please scroll through the photo gallery above.

Photo Essay: RAN decommissions long-serving vessels
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