On this day:


12 Feb 2000

The Huon class mine hunter coastal HMAS HAWKESBURY, was commissioned. HAWKESBURY was laid down in ADI Yard, Newcastle, NSW, and launched on 24 April 1998.

23 Feb 2000

The International Force East Timor, (INTERFET), lead by Australia, ceased operation in East Timor and the ADF units that remained became part of the United Nations Transitional Force East Timor, (UNTAET).

24 Mar 2000

TU 645.1.1, (LCH Task Group consisting of HMA Ships BALIKPAPAN, BRUNEI, LABUAN, and TARAKAN), awarded the Meritorious Unit Citation for service in East Timor.

18 May 2000

HMAS ANZAC, (frigate), arrived at Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, for a good will visit.

25 May 2000

The survey ships HMAS LEEUWIN, and HMAS MELVILLE were commissioned in a joint ceremony.

12 Jul 2000

RADM G. F. Smith, AM, RAN, was appointed as Maritime Commander Australia.

26 Aug 2000

The Huon class mine hunter coastal HMAS NORMAN, was commissioned. NORMAN was laid down in ADI Yard, Newcastle, NSW, and launched on 3 May 1999.

15 Dec 2000

HMAS OTAMA, (Oberon class submarine), was decommissioned. OTAMA, was the last of the RAN’s Oberon class submarines to be decommissioned.

23 Feb 2001

The Collins class submarines HMA Ships DECHAINEUX, (CMDR S. P. Davies, RAN), and SHEEAN, (CMDR W. H. Wiltshire, RAN), were commissioned in a joint ceremony in Adelaide. Both submarines were laid down in the Australian Submarine Corporation Yard in Adelaide. DECHAINEUX was launched on 12 March 1998. SHEEAN was launched on 1 May 1999, with Mrs Ivy Hayes, (Sister of OS Terry Sheean), performing the launching ceremony.

31 Mar 2001

The ANZAC class guided missile frigate HMAS WARRAMUNGA, was commissioned. WARRAMUNGA was laid down in Tenix Williamstown Dockyard, VIC, and launched on 23 May 1998.

12 Apr 2001

The MV SOUTH TOMI, was boarded by a combined RAN/Australian Army boarding party and escorted back to Australia as part of Operation Teebone. The vessel had been spotted illegally fishing in Australian waters, (near Heard Island), on 29 March by an Australian Fisheries vessel. The Australian vessel gave chase after SOUTH TOMI fled westwards towards South Africa. The ADF boarding team was flown from Australia to South Africa and then embarked in the South African Navy Ships PROTEA and GALEWHEWE, which intercepted SOUTH TOMI on 12April. The pursuit of the SOUTH TOMI had taken 15, days and covered over 4,000 km.

25 Apr 2001

HMAS JERVIS BAY, (fast transport), conducts her last re-supply run from Darwin to Dili, in support of the UN peacekeeping mission in East Timor.

11 May 2001

HMAS JERVIS BAY, (fast transport), was decommissioned in Hobart, TAS. Known as the ‘Dili Express’, she had carried 6,600 troops, and 3,200 pallets of stores, to East Timor during her two year career.

15 May 2001

HMAS DARWIN, (frigate), arrives in the Solomon Islands to undertake peacekeeping duties as part of Operation Trek. She was later relieved by HMAS KANIMBLA, (landing ship personnel assault), in June.

02 Jun 2001

The Huon class mine hunter coastal HMAS GASCOYNE, was commissioned. GASCOYNE was laid down in ADI Yard, Newcastle, NSW, and launched on 11 March 2000.

15 Jun 2001

HMAS KANIMBLA, (landing ship personnel assault), arrives in the Solomon Islands to commence peacekeeping duties as part of Operation Trek. She was later relieved by HMAS MELBOURNE, (guided missile frigate), in July 2001.

24 Aug 2001

HMAS CANBERRA and HMAS WARRAMUNGA, (guided missile frigates), with HMAS MANOORA (landing platform amphibious), arrived in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam for a good will visit.

A team of RAN and RAAF personnel were deployed to Christmas Island, to conduct a search of the Old European Cemetery, to find the remains of a sailor buried there in February 1942. The remains floated ashore in a Carley float in early February 1942, and are believed to have come from HMAS SYDNEY, (cruiser), which was sunk in November 1941. Despite an extensive search of a portion of the cemetery, no remains were found, and the search party departed on 7 September.

A dilapidated 20 metre wooden fishing boat named the PALAPA, with 433 mainly Afghan refugees on board, and 27 Indonesian crew members, was located in a position some 75 nautical miles to the north of Christmas Island. The vessel was attempting to reach Christmas Island where the refugees would claim political asylum. The Norwegian cargo ship MV TAMPA, then en-route to Singapore, was directed to rescue the passengers and crew. This was the opening phase in an action that became known as the TAMPA Affair and had wide ranging implication for the RAN and Australian Government.

26 Aug 2001

The master of the MV TAMPA, (CAPT Arne Rinnan), attempted to take his vessel to Indonesia, to offload the 460 people he had rescued from the fishing boat PALAPA. Several of the refugees threatened him with violence, and also that they would jump overboard, unless the ship sailed to Australia. CAPT Rinnan requested permission to enter Australian waters, however, this was refused as the rescue had taken place in International waters, and the vessel and crew were Indonesian. HMAS MANOORA, (landing platform amphibious), then en-route to the Philippines, was redirected south to Christmas Island, to be on standby to support Australian Government directives.

29 Aug 2001

The master of the MV TAMPA declared a ‘state of emergency’, due to the health of some refugees, and the potential for violence amongst others, and took the vessel into Australian waters off Christmas Island.

11 Sep 2001

Terrorist attacks were launched against the United States. Hijacked aircraft were flown into the World Trade Centre, in New York, causing the twin towers to collapse. Another aircraft hit the Pentagon. Over 3,000 people were killed. This was the catalyst for the ‘international campaign against terrorism’, which later saw coalition military action in Afghanistan, the Philippines, and Iraq, involving RAN units.

14 Sep 2001

Australia invokes the ANZUS Treaty following terrorist attacks in the United States

02 Oct 2001

The Centenary Naval Review, to commemorate the Centenary of Federation, was due to commence, however, the bulk of activities were cancelled due to the 11 September 2001 terrorist attacks in the United States, and concerns regarding security in Australia.

19 Oct 2001

A suspected illegal entry vessel, (SIEV), departs the Indonesian port of Lampung, Sumatra, bound for the Australian territory of Christmas Island, with 420 men, women and children onboard. Many of these were from the troubled Middle East countries of Iraq, Iran, Palestine, and Algeria, and were fleeing tyranny in those countries. The 19 metre vessel, given the identifier SIEV-X, was un-seaworthy and sank later that day in International waters, but still inside the Indonesian zone for search and rescue. Indonesian authorities were slow to react, and by the time Indonesian fishing boats arrived on the scene, some 353 people had drowned; many of them women and children. Despite the fact that the incident happened in the Indonesian search and rescue zone, and the Indonesian Government did not request any support, the Australian Government was criticized in some circles for failing to divert an RAN vessel, then on Operation Relex immigration patrols, near Christmas Island, to the scene.

08 Nov 2001

The Indonesian fishing boat SUMBER LESTARI, (later termed SIEV 10), with 164 suspected illegal immigrants onboard, caught fire and sank near Ashmore Reef. The patrol boat HMAS WOLLONGONG, (LCDR S. Thompson, RAN), then in the area on Operation Relex border protection patrols, rendered assistance. WOLLONGONG rescued all 164 passengers, but two were unconscious and later died. CPOMT D. R. Zanker was later awarded the CSC for actions in providing medical support to the passengers.

The LPA, HMAS KANIMBLA, (CMDR D. G. McCourt, RAN), and guided missile frigate HMAS ADELAIDE, (CMDR N. S. Banks, RAN), departed Western Australia for service in the Arabian Gulf, as part of Operation Slipper, (International Campaign Against Terrorism). In early December they linked up with HMAS SYDNEY, (guided missile frigate), to conduct patrols of the Northern Arabian Gulf, searching for vessels attempting to smuggle oil out of Iraq.

18 Nov 2001

A memorial to HMAS SYDNEY, (cruiser),which was sunk in the action with the German raider KORMORAN, was dedicated at Mount Scott in Geraldton, WA. The memorial consists of a dome formed by 645 interlocking metal seabirds, one for each of SYDNEY’s complement. The memorial dominates the Geraldton skyline, and has sweeping views of the Indian Ocean where the wreck of SYNDEY still lies.

24 Nov 2001

HMAS PERTH, (former guided missile destroyer), was sunk as a dive wreck at Seal Rock, Albany, WA. The scuttling charges were fired by a former member of the crew of the earlier HMAS PERTH, (cruiser), which had been sunk in 1942 at the Battle of Sunda Strait.

28 Dec 2001

VADM D. J. Shackleton, AO, RAN, departed from HMAS SYDNEY, via Seahawk Helicopter, to return to Bahrain after a four day period spent embarked in HMA Ships KANIMBLA, ADELAIDE, and SYDNEY, which were then employed on Maritime Interception Operations in the Northern Arabian Gulf as part of Operation Slipper.

06 Feb 2002

HMAS CANBERRA, (frigate), apprehended the MV LENA near Heard Island and a boarding party fast roped on to the illegal fishing vessel. The next day CANBERRA apprehended the MV VOLGA, which was also fishing illegally in Australian waters. During this time CANBERRA was supported by HMAS WESTRALIA, (tanker),who refueled the frigate regularly to allow her to extend her time in the area.

19 Feb 2002

HMAS CANBERRA, (frigate), escorts the two illegal fishing vessels MV LENA and MV VOLGA into Gage Roads in Western Australia to be handed over to civilian authorities. The two vessels had been apprehended near Heard Island in early February and escorted back to mainland Australia with RAN steaming parties onboard each vessel.

27 Feb 2002

RADM R.W. Gates, CSM, RAN, was appointed as Maritime Commander Australia.

16 Mar 2002

HMAS HOBART (D39) was scuttled in Yankalilla Bay, South Australia. She took 2 minutes and 17 seconds to sink.

04 May 2002

The Huon class mine hunter coastal HMAS DIAMANTINA, (LCDR M.J. Rothwell, RAN), was commissioned. DIAMANTINA was laid down in ADI Yard, Newcastle, NSW, and launched on 2 December 2000. Mrs M. Bryden, (Daughter of LCDR Rose, RANVR), performed the launching ceremony.

Acting LS Cameron Troy Gurr was lost overboard from HMAS DARWIN, (frigate), in the vicinity of Christmas Island. DARWIN was conducting patrols as part of border protection operations, (Operation RELEX II). Despite an extensive search no trace of LS Gurr was ever found.

30 May 2002

HMAS MELBOURNE, (CAPT S. R. W. McDowell, CSM, RAN), departs Sydney for a five month deployment to the Persian Gulf, to enforce maritime sanctions against Iraq, (Operation Slipper). She departed the Middle East area of operations on 8 November, after 136 days in theatre, and having conduct 315 boardings. She eventually arrived back in Sydney on 20 December.

25 Jun 2002

HMAS ARUNTA departs from HMAS STIRLING, for service in the Persian Gulf, as part of the Maritime Interdiction Force, (Operation SLIPPER), enforcing sanctions on Iraq.

02 Jul 2002

VADM Chris Ritchie AO, RAN, was appointed Chief on Navy. During 1991 he commanded HMAS BRISBANE, (guided missile destroyer), in the first Gulf War.

07 Jul 2002

HMS NOTTINGHAM, (Type 42 destroyer), ran aground on Wolf Rock at Lord Howe Island, and suffered significant damage to her hull and electrical systems. The ship was only saved from foundering by the excellent damage control skills of her crew. RAN and RNZN clearance divers later flew to Lord Howe Island, to assist in stabilizing the vessel, before she was towed to Sydney for repairs. Eventually, the vessel was placed onboard a heavy lift ship, in Sydney, and returned to the United Kingdom for extensive repairs. Four of NOTTINGHAM’s officers, including the Commanding Officer, were court-martialled in 2003, and found guilty of various offences leading to the grounding. After extensive repairs NOTTINGHAM returned to service in July 2004.

08 Jul 2002

HMA Ships ARUNTA, and DARWIN, (frigates), undertake a concurrent replenishment with the Spanish warship SPS MARQES DE LA ENSENADA, in the Gulf of Oman. ARUNTA was about to commence duties in the Persian Gulf, and DARWIN was on her way home to Australia.

20 Jul 2002

RADM Raydon Gates, CSM, RAN, was appointed Maritime Commander Australia.

17 Aug 2002

The Anzac class guided missile frigate HMAS STUART, was commissioned. STUART was laid down in Tenix Williamstown Dockyard, VIC, and launched on 17 April 1999.

17 Sep 2002

HMAS ADELAIDE, (frigate), arrives in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, for a good will visit.

'On This Day' is based on the book "Navy Day by Day: Historic Naval Events in Australia and Abroad" written by the late Lew Lind. More information.

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