HMAS Melbourne (FFG 05) is an Adelaide-class frigate commissioned into the Royal Australian Navy in 1992. She is currently deployed to the Middle East Area of Operations as part of Operation Slipper, Australia’s contribution to maritime security operations in the region.
HMAS Melbourne apprehends alleged pirates
Royal Australian Navy ship, HMAS Melbourne, has intercepted suspected pirates off the coast of Somalia as part of maritime security patrols in Middle Eastern waters for Operation SLIPPER.
The suspected pirates were intercepted on 15 October 2013 after the Combined Maritime Forces received two reports of attempted acts of piracy against two separate merchant vessels during the previous four days.
Under the direction of Combined Task Force 151 (CTF151), HMAS Melbourne was appointed as on-scene commander for a multi-national search operation, involving ships and aircraft from the Combined Maritime Forces and European Union Naval Forces to locate and intercept the suspected pirates.
With the assistance of other CTF 151 assets, HMAS Melbourne successfully located the suspected pirate vessels.
HMAS Melbourne‘s highly trained boarding team made the final approach to board and search the skiffs successfully apprehending the nine pirates.
Commander Brian Schlegel, Commanding Officer HMAS Melbourne said that the Ship’s Company knew what to do and was well trained to ensure a positive outcome.
“Melbourne’s success in disrupting piracy activity in the region re-affirms the importance of Australia’s ongoing commitment to Combined Maritime Forces,” Commander Schlegel said.
“Melbourne’s Ship’s Company have worked tirelessly to contribute to a successful outcome for both Combined Maritime Forces and for the wider Maritime Community.”
HMAS Melbourne’s boarding party provided information about various items located onboard the two vessels that could be used in piracy attacks.
In accordance with the Combined Maritime Forces direction, the pirates were embarked in HMAS Melbourne and the skiffs and associated pirate equipment was destroyed.
HMAS Melbourne is currently returning the suspected pirates to Somalia.
The quick, co-ordinated and decisive response to threats in the maritime environment highlights the importance of the continued presence of multi-national forces in the Middle East region.
HMAS Melbourne is the 56th rotation to the Middle East Area of Operations since the 1991 Gulf War and the 32nd rotation since 2001.
She is employed by the Combined Maritime Forces under the Tactical Control of CTF151 who is responsible for counter piracy operations within the Middle East Area of Operations.
Carlo Bergamini (F590) is a general purpose frigate while Virginio Fasan (F591) and Carlo Margottini (F592) are ASW variants. A total of 6 GP and 4 ASW frigates are planned for the Italian Navy. France will take 7 ASW frigates and 2 air-defence frigates. Morocco has accepted a single frigate into service.
“Nuovo successo per la Marina Militare e l’industria italiana” – Le prime tre FREMM prendono il largo
Golfo di La Spezia – Nel corso della mattina del 26 settembre il Golfo dei poeti ha tenuto a battesimo Nave Carlo Margottini che ha effettuato la sua prima uscita in mare. L’ultima “nata” del programma FREMM, strategico ed ambizioso programma di costruzioni navali militari in Europa che vede impegnati Francia ed Italia, rappresenta un successo programmatico nato dalla vincente sinergia tra la cantieristica italiana e la Marina Militare.
Nave Margottini, unitamente alle altre due FREMM (fregate europee multi-missione) italiane, realizzate da Orizzonte Sistemi Navali, la joint-venture fra Fincantieri e Selex ES, hanno lasciato per la prima volta tutte insieme i moli del cantiere del Muggiano per il mare aperto.
La capoclasse nave Carlo Bergamini, consegnata alla Marina Militare lo scorso maggio e le gemelle Virginio Fasan e Carlo Margottini, che dovrebbero essere consegnate rispettivamente entro fine anno ed il prossimo febbraio, hanno effettuato una serie di evoluzioni e prove nel corso della giornata volte a testare l’efficienza dei moderni imbarcati.
HMS Westminster is a Type 23 frigate commissioned into the Royal Navy in 1994. ITS Francesco Mimbelli is a Durand de Le Penne-class destroyer commissioned into the Marina Militare in 1993. ITS Salvatore Pelosi is a Sauro-class submarine commissioned into the Marina Militare in 1987.
HMS Westminster practises submarine hunting skills
A Royal Navy warship on deployment in the Mediterranean has been flexing her hunter-killer technique in an anti-submarine warfare exercise with the Italian Navy. HMS Westminster is working as part of the Navy’s Response Force Task Group which is on an annual deployment to the Med and then the Gulf that tests the flexibility and capability of the force.
Part of their tasking includes working alongside NATO allies – and in Westminster’s case this came in the form of the Italian destroyer Francesco Mimbelli and submarine Salvatore Pelosi.
Taking turns to practise hunting for each other, the sailors from both ships and the submarine were put through their paces in an action packed few days. As well as testing sensors and weapon skills, the exercise also tested the reactions of those on board.
There was also the chance for some of the sailors to experience life on board a partner nation’s vessel. From HMS Westminster, Medical Officer Lieutenant Moira McLellan spent two days on Mimbelli.
“It was a very enjoyable visit and interesting to see the similarities in the day to day workings of both navies.
“However, the culinary differences were very apparent, with pizza being served on Mimbelli’s bridge at 10 in the morning.”
Aside from the anti-submarine exercise, HMS Westminster has been busy preparing for a wide range of tasks including seamanship, flying, gunnery and boarding as part of her Cougar deployment and also in preparation for her operations further afield.
HMS Westminster is due to leave the Cougar force before the end of their deployment and take up station in the Gulf as one of the Royal Navy’s long-standing commitments to the region.
The Commanding Officer of HMS Westminster, Captain Hugh Beard, said:
“The ship’s company of Westminster have been working hard as part of our Cougar 13 deployment and also in preparation for our future mission.
“As a former Submarine Commanding Officer, I am a poacher-turned-gamekeeper and I have really enjoyed my experience with the capabilities of Westminster to try to defeat the Italian submarine Pelosi.”
The ships of Cougar 13 will operate in the Mediterranean, Red Sea, Persian Gulf, and Horn of Africa.
This annual deployment involves exercising with partner nations, and will show the UK Armed Forces’ capacity to project an effective maritime component anywhere in the world as part of the Royal Navy’s Response Force Task Group, commanded by Commodore Paddy McAlpine from the Fleet Flagship HMS Bulwark.
The RFTG is the United Kingdom’s high readiness maritime force, made up of ships, submarines, aircraft and a landing force of Royal Marines, at five days notice to act in response to any contingency tasking including humanitarian disaster relief or international military intervention.
As well as HMS Westminster there are three other Royal Navy ships – HMS Bulwark, HMS Illustrious and HMS Montrose taking part as supported by five Royal Fleet Auxiliary vessels.