9 April 2024

HMAS Hobart deploys to help enforce UN North Korea sanctions

| Andrew McLaughlin
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HMAS Hobart gets underway from Sydney on 2 April, heading for the northwest Pacific. Photos: ADF.

The Royal Australian Navy’s Hobart-class destroyer (DDG) HMAS Hobart (III) departed its home base of Sydney on 2 April for a three-month regional deployment to the northwest Pacific.

The vessel – the lead vessel of the three-ship Hobart class – and its 230 crew members are scheduled to participate in Operation Argos, the ADF’s contribution to enforcing United Nations sanctions against North Korea.

The operation involves the surveillance of illegal ship-to-ship transfers of sanctioned goods. North Korea has been known to send its own ships out to meet inbound or outgoing cargo ships with false destinations in China or elsewhere to load or offload cargo covered by the sanctions.

The UN Security Council sanctions are designed to restrict North Korea’s imports of refined petroleum and crude oil and its exports of coal, all of which have been facilitated by at-sea transfers.

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Other activities will include cooperative activities at sea, port visits, and community engagement activities ashore.

The Australian Defence Force has contributed several deployments of DDGs and Anzac-class frigates (FFH) to Operation Argos, as well as Royal Australian Air Force P-8A Poseidon maritime surveillance aircraft.

Joint Force Maritime Component Commander Commodore Jonathan Ley said HMAS Hobart would continue to maintain Australia’s presence in the Indo-Pacific region while supporting regional security and stability.

“These routine deployments demonstrate Australia’s commitment to a peaceful, secure and prosperous Indo-Pacific, where the rules-based international order and sovereignty are respected,” he said.

“HMAS Hobart, like all Australian vessels and aircraft, will continue to uphold international law and exercise freedom of navigation and support our partners doing the same.”

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Commanding Officer of HMAS Hobart Commander Tina Brown said the crew was proud to contribute to Australia’s Indo-Pacific presence and represent the nation during international engagements.

”The crew, including our embarked MH-60R helicopter team, have worked hard to ensure our readiness for this regional presence deployment,” she said.

“We look forward to working and engaging with our partners both at sea and ashore.

“I’m thankful to all crew members for their commitment so far and to our families for the support we’ve already received and will continue to receive during our absence.”

HMAS Hobart is equipped with the advanced Aegis combat system, SPY-1D radar arrays, an MH-60R Romeo Seahawk combat helicopter, Harpoon anti-ship missiles, and SM-2 and ESSM surface-to-air missiles.

navy vessel arriving in port

HMAS Hobart arrives in Tasmania in March to exercise its Freedom of Entry through the City of Hobart.

The deployment comes just a couple of weeks after HMAS Hobart visited Tasmania and exercised its Freedom of Entry through the City of Hobart.

The Freedom of Entry, granted in February 2018 shortly after the ship’s commissioning, is an honour that bestows on military units the right to parade through the streets of the city on ceremonial occasions and to be present at official functions and ceremonies.

In other navy news, the lead ship of the navy’s fleet of eight Anzac-class frigates, HMAS Anzac, will be decommissioned at Fleet Base West in WA on 18 May.

The vessel has stood idle for several months while falling crew numbers are distributed among other ships. It was announced in the Federal Government’s independent surface fleet review in February that the ship would not be returning to sea, and would be decommissioned to release resources in lieu of a new class of frigates entering service from 2030.

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