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Navy frigate returns home after four months in the Gulf



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Media ReleaseThe Hon Bruce Scott MPMinister for Veterans' Affairs « Minister Assisting the Minister [or Defence * Federal Member for Maranoa MJN 252/99 Friday 3 September, 1999

NAVY FRIGATE RETURNS HOME AFTER FOUR MONTHS IN THE GULF

The guided missile frigate, HMAS MELBOURNE, will return to Sydney at 10 am on Sunday the 5th September after a four month deployment to the Persian Gulf in support of United Nations sanctions against Iraq.

The Minister Assisting the Minister for Defence, Bruce Scott accompanied by the Chief of Navy and Maritime Commander, will meet the ship on arrival to present Australian Service Medals to 138 of the 218 officers and sailors.

“The crew of MELBOURNE and those ashore providing logistics support have done Australia proud.” Mr Scott said. * '

Arriving in Bahrain on 1st June, MELBOURNE joined naval ships from the United States, British, Canadian and Gulf states to conduct boardings of merchant ships sailing into and out of Iraqi ports in search of goods banned under UN resolutions.

During the four month deployment, MELBOURNE queried over 90 ships and conducted 31 boardings.

The ship also conducted goodwill visits to ports in Saudi Arabia, Oman, Kuwait, Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates, with MELBOURNE’S visit to Abu Dhabi coinciding with the opening of the Australian Embassy in theUAE.

“The return of the MELBOURNE from the Gulf is a milestone in the new health strategy for overseas , . „ deployments put in place by the Departments of Defence and Veterans’ Affairs," Mr Scott said.

“Development of nominal rolls for all future significant deployments of ADF personnel is a key element of the new strategy, as such rolls are vital basic information for assessing the health needs of veterans in future years."

“MELBOURNE'S return ends this deployment, the first since I announced the new strategy in July , and 1 am delighted to be able to receive a complete nominal roll of all those who served in the Gulf on this mission/'

The ship’s arrival this Sunday on Father’s Day will have particularly significance for crew members Petty Officer Andrew Bellingham and Able Seaman Luke Chapman, who will finally get to see their new bom babies: Mitchell Bellingham bom 18th June, and Jackson Chapman born 21st July.

Minister Scott and Commander Peter Jones (Commanding Officer of HMAS Melbourne) will be available for media interview on completion of the medal presentations.

Media enquiries: Navy Lieutenant Emma Williams (02)9563 4627 0411 252 984 Ministerial Michael Priebe (02) 6277 7820 0418 482 514

For more information: access HMAS MELBOURNE'S website at www.navy.gov.au/9_sites/ffg05/default.htm

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Media Contact: Michael Priebe on (02) 6277 7820 or mobile 041 8 482 514