Last week, the HMA ships Paluma and Mermaid, two of the Royal Australian Navy’s oldest vessels, were bid farewell to during a ceremony at HMAS Cairns.
For more than 30 years, survey motor launches collected hydrographic data required for the development of products used by military, commercial, and private vessels to navigate the waters around Australia safely.
In addition to their critical survey function, Commanding Officer Mermaid Lieutenant Commander Christopher Voysey stated that the ships have also transitioned into operational support roles over the years.
“Since Mermaid’s first hydrographic operation at Bee Reef on February 26, 1990, the ship has steamed nearly 420,000 nautical miles and conducted countless surveys,” said Lieutenant Commander Voysey.
More recently, the ships participated in Operation Resolute, which Lieutenant Commander Voysey described as demonstrating the platform’s breadth and adaptability.
Paluma held the title of ‘First Lady of the Fleet’ as the older of the two, which was passed on to HMAS Shepparton during the decommissioning ceremony.
Paluma, Commanding Officer Lieutenant Commander Craig Hamilton described the title handover and ceremony as “appropriate and memorable moments” that recognized the important legacies the ships leave behind.
“For many years, our ships have served the Australian Navy and the region, and much proud personnel have served on board,” Lieutenant Commander Hamilton said.
“We now look forward to integrating into and contributing to the development of the Australian Navy’s incoming maritime mine countermeasures and military survey capability via SEA1905 Phase 1.”
SEA1905-1 will provide the Defense Department with innovative and adaptable capabilities to combat the growing threat of mines while also developing maritime environmental knowledge.
The decommissioning of the Paluma and Mermaid is part of a phased introduction of up to eight specialist vessels equipped with robotic, autonomous, and artificial intelligence systems.
Check out Naval Library App to find out the specifications of the Australian Navy’s assets.