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December 8, 2011
Mine Hunters home for Christmas
HOME SWEET HOME: HMAS
Yarra sails under the Sydney
Harbour Bridge headed for
HMAS Waterhen and, inset,
LEUT Ryan Post is welcomed
home by his daughter and part-
ner as he steps off Yarra.
Photos: ABIS Sarah Williams
and ABIS Richard Cordell
By Graham McBean
ABOUT 300 family, friends and
colleagues welcomed home four
of the Navy's six mine hunters
from international deployments at
HMAS Waterhen on November 27.
HMA Ships Diamantina,
Gascoyne, Huon and Yarra sailed
through Sydney Heads at 9.15am
after a diverse range of missions in
the Asia-Pacific region.
The ships have had a busy year,
participating in operations including
Queensland Flood Assist, numerous
exercises and collective training.
Commander Australian Fleet
RADM Steve Gilmore joined HMAS
Yarra at Sydney Heads. He later con-
gratulated the ships' companies on
the successful deployments.
LCDR John Newcomb, Mine
Warfare and Clearance Diving Group,
said "it was a great entry" back to
Waterhen from deployment.
He said it had been a long year for
the mine hunters and the crews had
worked extremely hard to meet mis-
"It's always difficult logistically
with small vessels like that," he said.
"And they haven't all been
together -- they have been off in dif-
Diamantina and Gascoyne were
recently in Papua New Guinea,
where they took part in Operation
Render Safe. The operation reduced
the threat to local communities from
unexploded ordnance left over from
World War II.
During the deployment 150
Defence personnel disposed of more
than 2000 individual items with a net
explosive quantity of seven tonnes.
During operations in Simpson
Harbour, Rabaul, Gascoyne also
investigated an uncharted contact sus-
pected to be a World War II Japanese
Diamantina conducted what is
believed to be the deepest live fir-
ing by the Navy of a Mine Disposal
Charge, laid by a Double Eagle Mine
Disposal Vehicle against live ord-
nance. They located and destroyed a
World War II Mk89 Japanese torpedo
in 173 metres of water in Kavaria
Huon and Yarra were part of a
separate task group and were return-
ing from a three-month South-East
Asian deployment, during which they
participated in Exercise Bersama
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