Australian Navy frigate HMAS Stuart visits Cebu

By: Irene R. Sino Cruz - CDN Digital | October 23,2019 - 04:45 PM

HMAS Stuart is in Cebu for a four-day visit which started on Monday, October 21, 2019. | Irene Sino-Cruz

CEBU CITY, Philippines — The Royal Australian Navy ship HMAS Stuart is now docked at Cebu City port for a goodwill visit following it’s participation in the Leyte landing commemoration.

“We’re part of the nine Australian ships and two submarines currently engaged right across the region,” said Commander Luke Ryan, commanding officer HMAS Stuart.

Commander Luke Ryan. | Irene Sino-Cruz

The commander explained that their focus was Southeast and North Asia.

HMAS Stuart was among the four ships currently visiting the Philippines to participate in the 75th commemoration of the Leyte Landing and Battle of Surigao Strait, Ryan said.

HMAS Stuart was joined by HMAS Leeuwin, HMAS Sirius and HMAS Ararat.

The ship provided a backdrop during the celebration , he added.

The 17-year-old frigate is on a four-day visit to Cebu starting October 21, 2019 following their participation in the Leyte Landing celebration. It will be leaving Cebu on Thursday, October 24.

“We have 192 Australians on board, seven of them of Filipino heritage with two coming from Cebu,” Ryan said.

The two who trace their roots from Cebu are Able Seaman (AB) Jayne Lawson and AB Mary Dibley.

The family of the mother of Lawson, an  avionics technician, came from Cebu.

On the other hand, Dibley, a medical personnel, grew up in Barangay Labrador in Malabyoc town that is located in the southwestern part of the province.

The three other Fil-Aussies are LCDR (Lieutenant Commander) Marlowe Ricamora, weapons engineering officer, from Manila; LS (Leading Seaman) Joshua Lapatha, an aviation technician from Manila: and SMN (Seaman) Darren Cruz, maritime logistics from Manila.

HMAS Stuart is a long-range frigate capable of air defense, surface and undersea warfare, surveillance, reconnaissance and interdiction.

The ship has a Sikorsky/Lockheed Martin MH-60R Seahawk helicopter. | Irene R. Sino Cruz

Since its commissioning, Stuart has participated in border protection operations, the apprehension of the North Korean flag bulk carrier the Pong Su.

It was also deployed to the Middle East region as part of the International Coalition against Terrorism in 2004.

The frigate was commissioned on August 17, 2002 and its homeport is at Fleet Base West in Sydney Australia. / dcb

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