Joy and tears at return of HMAS Arunta

Aiden BoyhamSound Telegraph
Able Seaman Maritime Logistics Chef Simone MacDonald gets a warm welcome.
Camera IconAble Seaman Maritime Logistics Chef Simone MacDonald gets a warm welcome. Credit: LSIS Lee-Anne Cooper

There were tears of joy and smiles all round at HMAS Stirling on Sunday when the 191 crew members aboard HMAS Arunta returned home after a nine-month deployment.

Departing in November on Operation Manitou, HMAS Arunta’s crew were greeted by family and friends as they stepped back onto Australian soil.

Matthew Jacob greets his two girls Isla (3) and Sophie (5).
Camera IconMatthew Jacob greets his two girls Isla (3) and Sophie (5). Credit: The West Australian

During deployment, HMAS Arunta intercepted more than 1310kg of drugs with a street value of more than $186 million, according to Australian Crime Commission figures.

Commanding officer Commander Cameron Stell said the professionalism and commitment of the crew were the keys to a successful mission.

“Our training prepared us well, but it was the attitude and work ethic of this great team that saw us achieve so much as part of the Combined Maritime Forces,” Cmdr Stell said.

“We are proud of our contribution to global security and stability.

HMAS Arunta's crew wave to family and friends as they return home.
Camera IconHMAS Arunta's crew wave to family and friends as they return home. Credit: LSIS Bradley Darvill

“We covered a lot of ocean and we are pleased to be home. Since departing in November last year, we have travelled more than 49,000 nautical miles, equivalent to 2.5 times around the world.

“In that time, Arunta worked as part of the Combined Maritime Forces to interrupt the illegal drug trade that funds terrorism.”

Commanding Officer Cameron Stell is greeted by his family. Pictures:Sharon Smith
Camera IconCommanding Officer Cameron Stell is greeted by his family. Pictures:Sharon Smith Credit: he West Australian

Rear Admiral Stuart Mayer, Commander Australian Fleet, said HMAS Arunta had helped continue Australia’s record of illicit trade network disruption by working with international partners.

“Australia has had a constant presence in the Middle East for decades, and the men and women of the Royal Australian Navy have regularly seized drugs and other illegal cargo from the high seas,” he said. “Arunta has maintained Australia’s high standing in the Combined Maritime Forces and proven our ability to continue to perform at the highest level while committing ships to the region for long periods.”

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