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LCDR Simon Franklin
WHISKY tango charlie -- Welcome
to China was the signalled greeting
given to HMAS Ballarat by warships
of the People's Liberation Army--
Navy (PLAN-N), as Ballarat made
her way into Shanghai on May 17.
Her arrival in China marked the
40th anniversary of Australia-China
The Anzac-class Guided Missile
Frigate has since berthed in Japan on
the final stage of its Asian deployment
after completing a series of exercises
with the maritime forces of China and
After a short port visit to the city
of Kure, HMAS Ballarat was sched-
uled to participate in the Australian--
Japanese bilateral Exercise Nichi Gou
Trident 2012 from June 4-6.
The Asian deployment began in
China with a busy nine-hour pilotage
which included transits of the Yangtz
and Huangpu Rivers.
Ballarat was escorted by the frig-
ate Anqing and berthed adjacent to the
famous Bund district in the centre of
Shanghai for a five-day port visit.
At the welcome ceremony,
resplendent with guard and band,
CO Ballarat CMDR Jonathan Earley
thanked the senior PLA-N representa-
tive, Deputy Chief of Staff Shanghai
Naval Gar rison, CAPT Li Jun, for the
"It is indeed an honour for us to
be here this year, marking the 40th
anniversary of Australia-China dip-
lomatic ties, and what better way to
herald this event than to be berthed in
such a spectacular location," CMDR
The port visit was a success with
a large number of official activities
conducted between the PLA-N and
These included reciprocal ship
visits, an official reception and ban-
quet hosted by the Commander of the
Shanghai Naval Gar rison, a cocktail
party on board Ballarat jointly hosted
by the Australian ambassador to China,
and a friendly game of basketball.
The ship's company thoroughly
enjoyed interacting with their PLA-N
counterparts, with all ranks doing
their bit to help strengthen the rela-
tionship between the two navies.
"Our relationship is an important
one, and within the maritime domain
as navies we can help strengthen that
bond through visits such as these both
here and in Australia."
On the way to China, Ballarat
also conducted an impromptu passing
and photo exercise with US 7th Fleet
Flagship USS Blue Ridge on May 8 in
the South China Sea.
The exercise provided an excellent
occasion for a cross deck between the
two ships and eight Australian and
11 American sailors undertook the
For ABBM Cody Nicol, the chance
to cross deck to Blue Ridge was a new
and exciting experience as it was the
first time he had been on a USN ship.
"From the captain dow n, the crew
was very welcoming. I was blow n
away on how they lived in 100 man
messes and how they had dispensers
for soft drink and chocolate milk at
lunch," he said.
Forty years of friendship
CEREMONIAL SUNSET: Personnel on board HMAS Ballarat lit by the
IN PASSING: USS Blue Ridge and HMAS Ballarat transit
alongside each other in the South China Sea. Photo: US Navy
Navy News will feature more from
the final stages of HMAS Ballarat's
four-month deployment through Asia
in the next edition. Further details can
be found on the Navy website: http://
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