HMAS Wewak (photo : Worldwarships)
HMAS Wewak's Ships Company cross the gangway during her Decommissioning Ceremony at HMAS Cairns Naval Base, North Queensland.
Navy personnel and dignitaries have farewelled Balikpapan Class Landing Craft Heavy (LCH), HMAS Wewak, which has been decommissioned after almost 40 years of service.
HMAS Wewak’s Commanding Officer Lieutenant Luke Weston and the ship's company farewelled their ship in a traditional Navy decommissioning ceremony at HMAS Cairns Naval Base, North Queensland.
"HMAS Wewak has served for almost 40 years, conducting countless operational deployments and making a vital contribution to Navy's delivery of secure Australian waters,” Lieutenant Weston said.
“It was my honour and pleasure to command her and it is with great fondness that we say farewell today.”
HMAS Wewak’s service included moving large amounts of cargo, personnel and equipment from larger ships to shore, providing essential logistic support to the Australian Defence Force and the civilian communities of Australia and the South Pacific.
The high tempo of her commitments reflected her motto, Do Not Yield.
Wewak was one of eight LCH vessels to join the First Australian Landing Craft Squadron in the early 1970s, each named after an amphibious assault of World War II. Wewak was named after the amphibious assault on Wewak, Papua New Guinea, that took place on 11 May 1945.
All of the remaining Balikpapan Class LCH ships are due to be decommissioned during the next two years. HMA Ships Wewak, Betano and Balikpapan will be decommissioned this month, while HMA Ships Brunei, Labuan and Tarakan are programmed to decommission in late 2014.
They will be replaced by six new heavy landing craft with improved ocean-going capabilities able to transport armoured vehicles, trucks, stores and people.