HMA Ships Toowoomba, Stalwart, Brisbane and Choules have returned to Australia following a three-month regional deployment in north-east and south-east Asia.
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During their regional presence, the task group completed activities with partner nations, including Canada, India, Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, New Zealand, the Republic of Korea, Singapore, the United Kingdom, and the United States.
Defence announced in October that the ships would contribute to Operation Argos, the international effort to enforce United Nations Security Council sanctions on North Korea.
HMAS Choules also assisted the 2023 Pacific Games, deploying to Honiara in support of the Australian Federal Police and Royal Solomon Islands Police.
HMA Ships Toowoomba and Stalwart returned to HMAS Stirling in Western Australia, and HMA Ships Brisbane and Choules returned to HMAS Kuttabul in NSW.
Over 700 Australian personnel took part in the regional presence deployment.
Vice Admiral Mark Hammond, Chief of Navy, explained that the deployments were essential for supporting Australia’s relationship with the Pacific family of nations.
“It’s a privilege to welcome home the crews of HMA Ships Toowoomba, Stalwart, Brisbane and Choules from their regional deployments, where they made notable contributions to Australia’s reputation through diplomacy in cooperation with our partners and allies,” VADM Hammond said.
“These ships are impressive capabilities, but it is our people who get the job done. During their deployments, each one of these sailors has lived an exciting and inspiring story. They have experienced things most Australians never will.
“As a professional team, they have furthered Australia’s reputation in the region and beyond. However, they don’t do it alone: our sailors at sea derive their strength from their loved ones at home, thank you to the families and friends for your enduring support of our people.
“While the return of these ships is an occasion to celebrate, I would also like to recognise and thank our people who will remain on watch, at sea and ashore, ready to respond during this festive period and beyond.”