Ho­bart en­ters ser­vice

Sunday Tasmanian - - News - PERRY DUF­FIN

PRIME Min­is­ter Mal­colm Turn­bull has struck a war­like stance as he wel­comed the Royal Aus­tralian Navy’s new­est and most ad­vanced ship into com­mis­sion.

The com­man­der and crew of the HMAS Ho­bart mis­sile de­stroyer as­sumed con­trol of the ship amid mil­i­tary fan­fare in Syd­ney yes­ter­day.

The ship’s 180-strong crew and guard marched in with com­mand­ing of­fi­cer Cap­tain John Stavridis as the naval band played.

Amid the fan­fare, Mr Turn­bull re­mained fo­cused on Ho­bart’s fu­ture.

He said Aus­tralia was a trad­ing na­tion that had ben­e­fited from the global rules-based or­der — but that was in­creas­ingly un­der threat.

“The strate­gic en­vi­ron­ment in our re­gion is more un­cer­tain than it has been for many years,” Mr Turn­bull said.

“Re­turn­ing ISIL fight­ers have taken a foothold in the South­ern Philip­pines, over­run­ning the city of Marawi.

“We must not al­low Marawi to be­come the Raqqa of South­East Asia.” Fur­ther north, he con­tin­ued, North Korea’s rogue leader Kim Jong-un was threat­en­ing to up-end global sta­bil­ity.

“The ratch­et­ing up of eco­nomic sanc­tions by the global com­mu­nity, in­clud­ing China, is our best prospect for curb­ing North Korea’s reck­less con­duct.”

He said the Ho­bart, and the new ships that would fol­low it into com­mis­sion, would be re­quired to main­tain peace and ad­vance Aus­tralia’s in­ter­ests in South-East Asia.

The Ho­bart class will pro­vide air de­fence for the fleet and land forces in coastal ar­eas.

It is equipped with mis­siles that can travel more than 150km and tor­pe­does, as well as long-range guns and de­fence sys­tems.

The ship is the third in the navy to bear the Ho­bart name.

The first was com­mis­sioned in 1938 and served in World War II. It was hit by a Ja­panese tor­pedo and 13 crew died but the ship limped home. It was de­com­mis­sioned in 1947 and sold for scrap to a Ja­panese firm in 1962.

Ho­bart II was com­mis­sioned in 1965 and served in the Viet­nam War.

PROUD: Cap­tain John Stavridis, left, Com­mand­ing Of­fi­cer of HMAS Ho­bart, passes a flag to a crew mem­ber dur­ing its com­mis­sion­ing cer­e­mony.

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