A German frigate has arrived in Western Australia as part of a seven-month deployment in the region.
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German Navy vessel FGS Bayern has docked in Fremantle, Western Australia, for a week-long visit ahead of an extended deployment in the Indo-Pacific, set to involve joint exercises with regional navies and a number of European Union, United Nations and NATO operations.
While in Western Australia, the ship’s crew of 200 officers and sailors are now expected to participate in a number of civic, social, sporting, and charity-related engagements.
The ship, which will be berthed at Fremantle Harbour from 28 September until 5 October 2021, is one of four Brandenburg Class frigates, and is the first visit of a German Navy ship to Australian waters since 1988.
The ship’s deployment follows 2+2 political and security policy consultations between the German and Australian Foreign and Defence Ministers on 10 June 2021.
The meeting involved a decision to upgrade the nations’ bilateral Strategic Partnership to an Enhanced Strategic Partnership in a bid to increase security and defence co-operation, including through training and exercises, particularly in the maritime domain.
Chief of Navy, Vice Admiral Michael Noonan, welcomed FGS Bayern to Australia.
"The German Navy is a valued like-minded partner and shares the Royal Australian Navy’s commitment to an open, inclusive and resilient Indo-Pacific region," VADM Noonan said.
"I welcome FGS Bayern’s Indo-Pacific deployment and the opportunity for our Navies to engage in an increasingly strategic and complex maritime environment."
The German Chief of Navy, Vice Admiral Kay-Achim Schönbach, noted the significance of the visit.
"It is about showing the flag and demonstrating on the ground that Germany stands by its international partners when it comes to securing the freedom of the sea routes and upholding international law in the region," he said.
“This means meeting and performing joint exercises with our partners, including Australia.
"Among other things, we also intend to participate in monitoring the UN sanctions against North Korea. In doing so, we are actively and visibly underpinning our commitment to the rules-based order in the Indo-Pacific by implementing UN Security Council resolutions and thus to strengthen the UN as a whole."
[Related: RAN farewells Japanese Navy vessels]