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HMAS Maitland farewelled ahead of Arafura Class transition

HMAS Maitland farewelled ahead of Arafura Class transition

The vessel has been decommissioned after almost 16 years of service with the Royal Australian Navy.

The vessel has been decommissioned after almost 16 years of service with the Royal Australian Navy.

Chief of Navy Vice Admiral Michael Noonan has presided over a decommissioning ceremony in Darwin for Armidale Class patrol boat HMAS Maitland.

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The 56.8 metre vessel, named after the City of Maitland in NSW, entered service with the Royal Australian Navy in September 2006.

HMAS Maitland, which was the sixth of 14 Armidale Class vessels, was deployed for a range of border patrol and national security missions, including protecting Australia against unauthorised entry, breaches of customs, upholding immigration and drugs legislation and other illegal activity.

Operations Resolute, Augury, Rai Balang, Sandalwood and Solania were among the vessel’s key missions.  

During its almost 16 years of service, the patrol boat reportedly sailed more than 435,054 nautical miles – almost 20 times around the circumference of the Earth.

This included visits to Bali, Davao, Dili, Honiara, Jakarta, Madang, Moresby and Sembawang.

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“The decommissioning of Maitland really brings together the men and women who have served in this great ship over her 16-year operational life,” VADM Noonan said.

It gives us time to reflect upon where our Navy has been, what we have done and importantly, where we are going into the future.

I had the opportunity to speak to the crew who came off Maitland today, and all of them are moving onto exciting roles within our Navy, which will see them play vital roles in our future fleet, and in the delivery of the exciting new capabilities that we will be commissioning.” 

The decommissioning of HMAS Maitland comes as Navy transitions from the existing Armidale Class and Cape Class patrol boats to 12 Arafura Class offshore patrol vessels from 2022 to 2030.

The Arafura Class vessels are under construction at Osborne Shipyard in South Australia and Henderson in Western Australia.

The 51st and final commanding officer of HMAS Maitland, Lieutenant Commander Jeremy Evain, lauded the contribution of crew over the life of the vessel.  

“We enter into an informal contract with the vessel we serve in; we maintain and take care of the vessel and in return, it protects us from the dangers of the sea,” LCDR Evain said.

“None of the achievements of the ship would have been possible without the hard work and dedication of the officers and sailors.”

“Life at sea is unlike anything else. It entails countless hours watch keeping, boarding operations in total darkness or the heat of the midday sun, crawling through the smallest of engineering spaces to fix defects, looking up at the stars of the night sky during a guts watch, embarking a sea boat dry only to be drenched by waves movements later and of course beautiful sunrises and sunsets.

He concluded: This is the day in the life of a Maitland sailor.”

[Related: Anduril tapped to develop autonomous undersea UAVs for RAN]

 

HMAS Maitland farewelled ahead of Arafura Class transition
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