HMAS Bundaberg (II)
Patrol Boat (PB)
Cut And Slash
Austal Ships, Fremantle
3 March 2007
18 December 2014
|Dimensions & Displacement|
|Length||56.8 meters (186.35 ft)|
|Draught||2.7 m (8.86 ft)|
|Range||3,000 nautical miles at 12 knots|
|Machinery||2 MTU 16V M60 2320Kw diesel's driving twin screws through ZF transmissions|
|Inherited Battle Honours|
The Armidale class of patrol boat perpetuates the name of the original HMAS Armidale (I) sunk by enemy action on 1 December 1942. The announcement of the class name coincided with the 60th anniversary of her loss. Ships of the Armidale class carry the names of former small ships of the Royal Australian Navy (RAN).
The Armidale class provides the Navy with an improved capability to protect Australia’s maritime interests in a greater range of sea conditions than the previous Attack class and Fremantle class. The Armidale class boats operate as multi-crewed vessels in four divisions; Attack, Assail, Ardent and Aware. Each division comprises up to six crews which rotate amongst the ships of the division.
The primary duty of the patrol boats is to contribute to the Civil Surveillance Program. Surveillance operations conducted by the RAN safeguard Australia’s sovereignty and significantly contribute to the maritime and resource security of the nation.
HMAS Bundaberg (II) commissioned at Bundaberg, Queensland, on 3 March 2007 under the command of Lieutenant Commander Rodney Newbold, RAN (Ardent 1). She arrived at her home port of Cairns on 6 March and after completing work-up exercises, conducted her first Operation RESOLUTE patrol the following month.
As with other vessels of the Armidale class Bundaberg has formed part of the bulwark of Operation RESOLUTE patrols across Australia’s northern waters. That service has been punctuated with intensive maintenance programs due to the high tempo of RESOLUTE commitments as well as participation in a variety of regional exercises.
Bundaberg participated in Exercise TALISMAN SABRE in June 2007 after which, she conducted her first boarding of an illegal foreign fishing vessel. On 9 September 2007 the ship’s company (Ardent 3) participated in the ‘Bundy in Bloom’ street parade at which time the ship was presented with the keys to the city, continuing a close relationship that the ship enjoyed with the City of Bundaberg since her commissioning.
In October 2007 she rendered assistance to the crew of a yacht that had capsized near Mindle Beach, Northern Territory recovering its two person crew before landing them safely at Darwin. This proved to be the first of a number of private vessels that Bundaberg provided assistance to throughout her commission.
On 4 January 2008 Bundaberg crash sailed from Darwin Harbour, along with other RAN vessels, to avoid Cyclone HELEN. That evening, all 14 Armidale class patrol boats were at sea riding out the heavy weather. Following the storm she resumed the normal pattern of patrol work and maintenance activity.
Between May and June 2010 Bundaberg participated in a Minor War Vessel Concentration Period in northern Australian waters before enjoying a rare break from the hectic schedule of Operation RESOLUTE patrols, conducting successful public relations visits to Bundaberg and the Gold Coast. In November 2010 she participated in Exercise PARADISE, an annual exercise hosted alternately by the RAN and the Papua New Guinea Defence Force, which in 2010 was conducted in Cairns for the first time.
A busy and successful 2010 ended sourly for Bundaberg when in the early hours of 4 December, while undergoing routine maintenance in Darwin, a fire broke out in a forward store room. As the ship was not in her home port at the time, 15 members of the crew (Ardent 4) were aboard when the fire broke out. They were immediately evacuated before assisting the duty watch to bring the fire under control. Internal damage to the boat was significant but no-one was injured. Bundaberg remained in Darwin undergoing repairs until April 2011. She returned to sea to conduct trials on 13 April and departed Darwin for Cairns a week later.
Bundaberg sailed for her first and only overseas deployment on 28 April 2011 bound for Vanuatu. Following a four day visit to Port Vila, she returned to Cairns on 8 May resuming Operation RESOLUTE duties the following day. In October under the auspices of Operation ZENELLA AVALON, Bundaberg, in conjunction with Australian Customs and Australian Federal Police (AFP), tracked the private yacht Friday Freedom as it approached the port of Bundaberg. On arrival, the yacht was boarded by AFP officers and 300kg of cocaine and $3 million in cash were seized; the fifth largest drug-haul in Australian history.
November 2012 saw Bundaberg participate in Exercise PARADISE/TRITON THUNDER while the highlight of 2013 was, without doubt, her involvement in the International Fleet Review. Departing Cairns on 22 September in company with HMPNG Ships Rabaul and Dreger, FSS Micronesia and RTN Savua the small task unit made the passage south to Sydney to join the festivities. Bundaberg later proceeded to Jervis Bay on 1 October to rendezvous with the International Fleet Review Task Group and on 4 October formed up with HMA Ships Sydney, Darwin, Perth, Parramatta, Diamantina and Huon to re-enact the first entry of the RAN Fleet Unit into Sydney Harbour 100 years earlier. After conducting a lap around Cockatoo Island in company with Parramatta, Diamantina and Huon, she berthed at HMAS Waterhen.
On 5 October Bundaberg departed Waterhen to once again form up with Sydney, Darwin, Perth, Parramatta, Diamantina and Huon for the fleet review. At 11.00 am, Bundaberg passed the reviewing ship, HMAS Leeuwin, with His Royal Highness the Prince of Wales and Her Excellency the Governor-General of Australia, Ms Quentin Bryce, embarked. With her ceremonial commitments completed, Bundaberg returned to northern waters resuming the high tempo of Operation RESOLUTE patrols.
In June 2014 Bundaberg entered a refit at Aluminium Boats Australia Pty Ltd in Brisbane. At 11.52am on 11 August 2014 a fire, thought to be caused by a “blow through” during welding activities, broke out in Bundaberg while she was on the hardstand. The fire quickly took hold spreading throughout the boat. Queensland Fire and Emergency Services brought the blaze under control at around 3.44pm that afternoon but by that time, the damage to the boat was extensive. Thankfully, no-one was injured.
After examinations to assess whether the vessel could be salvaged, the decision was made to decommission Bundaberg on 18 December 2014. While her commission came to an end prematurely, Bundaberg concluded RAN service with a proud record of protecting Australian maritime interests, particularly through her participation in the high tempo of Operation RESOLUTE.