• HMAS Pirie enters Darwin for the last time.
    HMAS Pirie enters Darwin for the last time. Defence

The RAN decommissioned Armidale Class Patrol Boat HMAS Pirie last Friday after 15 years of service.

Chief of Navy Vice Admiral Michael Noonan addressed the ceremony and recognised the valuable contribution made by the men and women who have served in Pirie.

“HMAS Pirie and her Ship’s Company have lived up to the ship’s motto “mark of quality.” They have served the people of Australia, protecting our nation’s borders and offshore maritime interests with dedication and professionalism,” VADM Noonan said. “Pirie is the first of two Armidale Class patrol boats to be decommissioned this year as we transition to our 12 Arafura Class Offshore Patrol Vessels (OPVs).

“While there is a nostalgia in farewelling one of our workhorses, it is an exciting time to serve, as Navy undergoes the most significant recapitalisation of the fleet.

“The new Arafura Class OPVs will provide a significant increase in capability and enhance our capacity to patrol our maritime territory and near region.”

HMAS Pirie Commanding Officer Lieutenant Commander Sean Dalton said it had been a privilege bringing Pirie and her crew home for the last time.

Pirie has sailed more than 426,000 nautical miles in her lifetime, travelling from as far east as Samoa, west to the Cocos Keeling Islands, south to the Bass Strait, and as far north as Qingdao, China,” Lieutenant Commander Dalton said.

Pirie conducted intercept and control of both foreign fishing vessels and suspected irregular entry vessels, along with regularly providing support to the civil community. She has also taken part in diplomatic, ceremonial and commemorative events with Australia’s regional partners.

ADM Comment: The Armidale class over their lifetime have been much maligned in terms of the capability and availability they offered the RAN. This however is unfair in many ways given that the ships were asked to perform well beyond their design scope under circumstances that were not envisioned by their designers. Pirie and her crew over her 15 year life have a lot of to be proud of.

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