Two Royal Australian Navy Minehunters, HMA Ships Gascoyne and Huon, have completed a successful visit to the Republic of Korea (ROK), in their first deployment to the region in more than 70 years.
Participating in multi-national Mine Countermeasure Warfare activities, Gascoyne and Huon joined ships and contingents from 13 nations to share knowledge and improve cooperation between participating navies.
Australia’s Chief of Navy, Vice Admiral Michael Noonan, AO, RAN, was in the ROK for the Minehunters’ arrival and said Australia’s participation in this activity highlighted the valued working relationship between Australia and the ROK.
“The inclusion of the Navy Minehunters in Australian Defence Force activities with the ROK complements the experience gained earlier this year at the mine countermeasures exercise conducted at Jervis Bay in New South Wales,” Vice Admiral Noonan said.
“This is also the first time in more than 70 years that Australian Navy vessels of this type have deployed this far north, providing a unique opportunity for this important capability.”
HMAS Gascoyne’s Commanding Officer, Lieutenant Commander Richard Brickacek, said the deployment tested the skills and experience of both the Mine Warfare and Clearance Diving departments.
“The local environment was significantly different from what we typically experience in Australian waters, including minimal underwater visibility, deep mud and varying weather,” Lieutenant Commander Brickacek said.
“Working in these unfamiliar conditions demonstrated the value of bringing all nations together to better understand each other’s capabilities and limitations in new and varying environments.”
Both Gascoyne and Huon will continue their deployment over the coming weeks, conducting bilateral exercises and international engagement with regional nations.