The crew of the Anzac Class frigate has concluded a joint training exercise alongside the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force.
After rendezvousing for a regional presence deployment, HMAS Ballarat has successfully wrapped up training exercises with the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force ship Murasame.
The ships remained in company for a day and conducted various maritime manoeuvres off the coast of Japan.
Ballarat’s Commanding Officer, Commander Antony Pisani said the joint exercises improved interoperability and “enhanced cohesiveness”.
“Activities like this one are extremely important in building mutual trust and respect among partner nation navies,” CMDR Pisani added.
“They allow us to develop common goals and have a better understanding of how we conduct business in the maritime environment.”
Ballarat and Murasame conducted a number of maritime evolutions, collectively referred to as ‘Officer of the Watch’ manoeuvres, with Ballarat’s MH-60R helicopter conducting a deck landing on Murasame as part of the activity.
CMDR Pisani said the deployment was a demonstration of the Navy’s ability to overcome operational challenges and disruptions, including those induced by the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Ballarat has had an extremely successful deployment since leaving our homeport of Fleet Base West in Perth almost two months ago,” CMDR Pisani said.
“Together with our partner nations, we have proved that significant deployments such as this can be carried out safely in a persistent COVID-19 environment by conducting contactless engagements.”
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As a result of the COVID-19 crisis, Ballarat is restricting its activities to essential logistics visits, with all resupply missions carried out in accordance with COVID-19 mitigation methods.
HMAS Ballarat’s joint exercise with the JMSDF followed its participation in Operation Argos — Australia’s contribution to international efforts to monitor and deter illegal shipments of sanctioned goods to North Korea, as part of United Nations’ Security Council Resolution 2397.
These exercises are part of Ballarat’s two-month regional presence deployment throughout south-east and north-east Asia
[Related: HMAS Ballarat joins Operation Argos]