The Armidale Class vessel has been farewelled after 15 years of service.
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The Royal Australian Navy has officially decommissioned Armidale Class patrol boat HMAS Wollongong at a ceremony in HMAS Cairns.
Over the past 15 years, HMAS Wollongong has been deployed to combat unauthorised entry and breaches of customs, while also protecting fisheries and enforcing drug trafficking legislation.
The patrol boat contributed to a number of major operations, including Operations Augury (Philippines), Solania (South West Pacific) and APEC Assist (PNG), and the 2019 G20 Summit in Japan.
The decommissioning ceremony was attended by Commander Australian Fleet, Rear Admiral Jonathan Earley, CSC, RAN, who thanked the crew for their service.
“HMAS Wollongong and the crews who have served in the vessel have made a significant contribution to our national interest,” RADM Earley said.
“These professional and dedicated men and women have protected our nation’s borders and offshore maritime interests from illegal activity.
“While today’s decommissioning is a necessary part of renewing our fleet, it is also an opportunity to honour the contribution made by the crews who have served Australia in HMAS Wollongong.”
Commanding Officer HMAS Wollongong, Lieutenant Commander Matthew Hams, reflected on the vessel’s work alongside Border Force, Australian Fisheries and the Australian Federal Police.
“Of note, HMAS Wollongong has steamed almost 1 million kilometres throughout its service, and I commend the professionalism, dedication, and passion of the crews who have served,” LCDR Hams said.
The decommissioning of the Armidale Class vessel forms part of the RAN’s transition to 12 new Arafura Class offshore patrol vessels (OPVs).
The next-generation OPVs are expected to have greater range and endurance, enabling Navy to perform operations over great distances and in more complex maritime environments.
The first two Arafura Class vessels were constructed at Osborne Shipyard in South Australia, with the remaining 10 to be built in Henderson, Western Australia.
HMAS Wollongong is the latest of a number of Armidale Class vessels to be decommissioned this year, coming just months after HMAS Glenelg was farewelled at a ceremony at HMAS Coonawarra in Darwin.
[Related: RAN decommissions HMAS Glenelg]