HMAS Newcastle has completed Focused Operation: Southern Look in the Gulf of Aden. The operation was centred between the ports of Al Mukalla and Ash Shi’hr in Yemen and took place in late August with co-operation from Turkish Frigate TCG Goksu.
In an effort to better differentiate between normal maritime business and illegal activity such as piracy, the Newcastle mariners conducted 16 boarding activities handing out bottled water and muesli bars while chatting to local fishermen about what they had seen in the area.
The aim being to establish rapport, the crew of Newcastle were soon called upon to aid a local fisherman with an injury.
Able Seaman Dale “Nutsy” Hazeltine, the Boarding Party’s Medic, assisted by cleaning, sterilising and dressing lacerations on the Yemeni fisherman’s foot:
“It was a simple thing to do, however without intervention the injury could have become infected, so it was good that we were able to provide help.
“News gets around to other fishing boats and helps promote our Navy as being the good guys and that’s a rewarding experience.”
Newcastle also conducted replenishment at sea activities with the United Kingdom’s RFA Fort Victoria and United States’ USNS Patuxant, which included Newcastle’s first helicopter vertical replenishment.
Newcastle is in the Middle East Area of Operations assigned to Operation SLIPPER – the Australian Defence Force contribution to the international campaign against piracy, counter smuggling and counter piracy in the Gulf of Aden.