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April 29, 2010
By LAC Aaron Curran
HMAS Stuart (CMDR Andrew
Masters) has finished its six month
deployment in the Middle East and
is heading home for a well earned
rest.The ship and its crew have com-
pleted a task that has taken them
far and wide -- from Pakistan to the
Persian Gulf and all the way down
to the Gulf of Aden and Djibouti.
HMAS Stuart's deployment has
covered areas such as anti-smug-
gling, anti-piracy and maritime
Gunnery Officer LCDR Eric
Young said what really stood out
was area the ship had covered
- 36,000 nautical miles since it
deployed in October 2009.
"We went to many different
ports that other ships never previ-
ously visited," he said.
"In the last 30 days of our patrol
alone we covered 10,500 nautical
miles, averaging more than 290
nautical miles a day."
During its time in theatre the
Stuart conducted up to 800 que-
ries - scrutinising ships at sea - and
50 boarding evolutions comprising
close-assist visits and flag verifica-
"The piracy operations at the
beginning of the deployment were
enjoyable and had tangible bene-
fits," LCDR Young said.
"It was mainly because there
were actual bad guys out there that
we could see and deter."
Stuart was the second ship to
conduct operations off Somalia, the
first being HMAS Toowoomba.
"We received a brief from mem-
bers of HMAS Toowoomba before
we sailed," he said.
"With up to 100 merchant ships
going through that area every day
we had an overt presence actively
trying to deter these guys from seiz-
During its anti-piracy operations,
the ship had its boarding parties and
the Seahawk helicopter on constant
alert. Stuart operated so as to be a
short time away from any ship that
needed assistance in the event of a
"During this operation we inter-
acted a lot with other navies and
merchant vessels," LCDR Young
"That was an obvious benefit
that the sailors can see."
Back in the Arabian Sea and
Persian Gulf, Stuart conducted
operations that many of its pred-
ecessors had done - deterring smug-
glers which support terrorist net-
"With these operations we hoped
to stop money going to the terror-
ists and the amount of weapons
and ammunition which could pos-
sibly be used against Australians in
Afghanistan," he said.
Stuart's CO CMDR Andrew
Masters said the biggest chal-
lenge for ship's company was
maintaining focus over an
"Looking for a needle in a
haystack is exhausting," he said
"The reason we were not
seeing the smugglers is because
we are doing an effective job of
deterrence. They are not coming
out because they are worried and
that means we are actually on
top of them."
He said with the mandate
they had, HMAS Stuart ended
up working with 25 different
nations navies, three different
task forces and three differ-
ent missions by the end of the
"The crew conducted them-
selves in a fantastic manner,"
CMDR Masters said.
"Considering half of them
had never deployed to the
MEAO before they cracked on
to the job at hand and did the
ADF and Navy proud."
Stuart delivers hard
times for bad guys
Consumables -- 24,300 eggs, 7,280
33,000ltrs milk, 1080ltrs ice-cream
Stuart raised a total of $1443.50 for
Helo hours in theatre
Helo hours for deployment 500
WATCHING PROCEEDINGS: LEUT Robbie Garnock on the forecastle as they
prepare to leave Bahrain. HMAS Stuart was in the Middle East area of opera-
tions (MEAO) as part of Op Slipper. The ship conducted maritime operations
against terrorism, countering piracy in the Gulf of Aden and maritime security.
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