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HMAS Stuart (FFH-153)

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The HMAS Stuart (FFH-153) is an Anzac-class frigate in the Royal Australian Navy

Operational History[edit]

In April 2003, Stuart was used to capture the Pong Su, a North Korean-owned freighter involved in drug smuggling operations. Several people were arrested ashore as part of an Australian Federal Police operation on 16 April, but Pong Su refused police orders to sail to the nearest port. A New South Wales Police launch attempted to detain the ship, off Eden, New South Wales on April 18th, but was unable to do so because of heavy seas. Stuart was deployed to board and capture the merchantman after scrounging sailors from other ships to make up for those on leave for the Easter weekend, embarking a Seahwak helicopter, and taking onboard special forces personnel from the Special Air Service Regiment and the Clearance Diving Team. Accompanied by two police launches, Stuart intercepted Pong Su 90 nautical miles (170 km; 100 mi) off Sydney on April 20th. The special forces successfully boarded the ship, and she was sailed to Sydney by a RAN steaming party.

In February 2006, fire broke out about HMNZS Te Mana, Stuart's sister ship, during an exercise off the coast of Australia. Te Mana's Seasprite helicopter was diverted to Stuart, while the fire was put out by the crew.

On the morning of March 13, 2009, Stuart was one of seventeen warships involved in a ceremonial fleet entry and fleet review in Sydney Harbour, the largest collection of RAN ships since the Australian Bicentenary in 1988. The frigate was one of the thirteen ships involved in the ceremonial entry through Sydney Heads, and anchored in the harbour for the review.

On March 22, 2011, while operating off Somalia as part of Combined Task Force 151, Stuart machine-gunned an unmanned skiff being towed by MV Sinar Kudus, a hijacked cargo carrier operating as a pirate mother ship. The skiff was destroyed. This was the first time an Australian warship had fired in anger at Somali pirates.

On 11 April 2011, Stuart interdicted the Yemeni-flagged dhow named Al Shahar 75. A boarding party from the frigate rescued three crew members being held hostage, while the fifteen Somali pirates, who had surrendered as Stuart approached, were allowed to return to their skiff and sail to shore after their weapons and equipment were disposed of.

In April 2014, the Stuart along with destroyer Hobart and frigate Broken Hill met up to intercept an Indian task force led by the Indian aircraft carrier INS Vikramaditya.

In September 2016, the Stuart was one of several vessels (including HMAS Brisbane, HMCS British Columbia, HMS Dauntless, HMS Dreadnaught, and SAS Mendi) to take over escorting the USS Wisconsin (BB-64) when the USS John C. Stennis (CVN-74), USS John Paul Jones (DDG-53), and USS Crommelin (FFG-37) had to head back to Bremerton for repairs after they suffered damage during Cyclone Shawna.

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