As the search for MH370 enters a new phase, HMAS Toowoomba and MV Seahorse Standard have returned to their home port of Fleet Base West, Australia after completing their commitment to Operation SOUTHERN INDIAN OCEAN.
Both vessels were part of the surface search task group, looking for evidence of the missing flight in the southern Indian Ocean.
Spending approximately one month on task, both vessels were an integral part of the task group, often searching in trying weather conditions.
Joint Task Force 658 Commander, Commodore Peter Leavy said the commitment displayed by both crews was commendable.
“The military and civilian personnel onboard these vessels worked around the clock to search the area as part of a multi-national effort, and I couldn’t be prouder of their commitment and dedication to the job,” he said.
“Operating in company with vessels from China, Malaysia, the United Kingdom and the United States: the total amount of area searched, which includes surface and air, was approximately 1,088,448 square nautical miles.”
As part of the search, the 2000-tonne multi-purpose vessel, MV Seahorse Standard, operated by Defence Maritime Services, embarked a 16-person Australian Navy crew with specialised look-outs, a small boat crew, clearance divers and communicators to assist with the mission.
The 170-strong ship’s company of HMAS Toowoomba, a guided helicopter frigate, used their suite of sensors and trained lookouts to conduct visual search in their assigned area.
Upon their return home, personnel from both vessels will take a few days rest before returning to work to resume their routine tasking.
Australian Navy, May 6, 2014