The RAN's longest serving ship, HMAS Success, has completed her final voyage after 33 years’ service.
Success, an 18,000 tonne Auxiliary Oiler Replenishment ship almost 160 metres in length and known as ‘The Battle Tanker’, was the last vessel built for the RAN at Sydney’s Cockatoo Island dockyard.
Commander Australian Fleet Rear Admiral Jonathan Mead said Success had been essential to Navy operations by replenishing Australian and coalition ships with fuel, food and other critical supplies over 3,500 times.
“HMAS Success has been an indispensable part of Navy operations since she was launched in 1984, and she has worked tirelessly to support our maritime operations,” Rear Admiral Mead said.
Commissioned in 1986, Success has steamed over one million nautical miles, participated in a world record 11 Rim of the Pacific exercises, earned battle honours for service during the 1991 Gulf War and East Timor in 1999, and helped search for missing Malaysian Airlines Flight 370.
“HMAS Success has quietly operated behind the scenes to help our frontline assets achieve mission success. Simply put, Success kept other ships at sea longer, thereby increasing maritime security for Australia and our allies,” Rear Admiral Mead said.
23rd and final Commanding Officer Captain Darren Grogan said he was not surprised by the level of admiration the ship still attracts from current and former officers and sailors.
“For other ships, Success has always been a welcome symbol of help and support; not just for the supplies she carries, but equally importantly for the mail and other packages she delivers from loved ones back home,” Captain Grogan said.
A number of past Commanding Officers and family members were present on-board as Success spent a last night at sea sailing from Jervis Bay to Garden Island.
“Success will be missed. She has been such an integral part of Navy over the past 33 years that most of our people today will not know the fleet without her,” Captain Grogan said.
The ship will be decommissioned at a formal ceremony at Fleet Base East in Sydney on 29 June.